Matthew Pinsent

Matthew Pinsent
Sir Matthew Pinsent
Personal information
Birth name Matthew Clive Pinsent
Nationality British
Born 10 October 1970 (1970-10-10) (age 41)
Holt, Norfolk, England
Height 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m) (2004)
Weight 17 stone (110 kg) (2004)
Country United Kingdom
Sport Men's rowing
Event(s) Coxless pair, coxless four
College/university team Oxford University Boat Club
Club Leander Club
Coached by Jürgen Gröbler
Retired 2004

Sir Matthew Clive Pinsent CBE (born 10 October 1970) is an English rower and broadcaster. During his rowing career, he won 10 world championship gold medals and four consecutive Olympic gold medals, of which three were with Steve Redgrave. Since retiring, he has worked as a sports broadcaster with the BBC.



Pinsent was born in Holt, Norfolk, his father being curate of St Andrew's parish church. He attended Aysgarth School in North Yorkshire before he began rowing at Eton College. He began his international career at the Junior World Rowing Championships in 1987. He raced again in 1988, winning the junior coxless pairs with Tim Foster. After finishing school, Pinsent studied Geography at St Catherine's College, Oxford. He competed in three Boat Races, winning in 1990 and 1991 but unsuccessful in 1993 (when he was Boat Club President), having taken a year out in 1992 in order to concentrate on preparing for the Barcelona Olympics.


International career

In 1990, while still at Oxford, he joined Steve Redgrave in the coxless pair at the World Rowing Championships – winning bronze. This was the beginning of a long partnership, and the pair won at the World Championships in 1991, and at the Olympic Games in 1992 and 1996.

In 2000 he won Olympic gold again as part of a coxless four with Redgrave, James Cracknell and Tim Foster. In August 2000, the month prior to winning gold in Sydney, he took part in a 3-part BBC documentary entitled Gold Fever. This followed the coxless four team in the years leading up to the Olympics, including video diaries recording the highs and lows in the quest for what would be Pinsent's third consecutive gold.

Pinsent and Cracknell then formed a men's coxless pair and won the coxless and coxed pairs (with Neil Chugani coxing) in the 2001 World Championships, and the coxless pair in 2002. However, after a disappointing 2003 season that saw Pinsent's first World Championships defeat since 1990, he and Cracknell moved to the men's coxless four for 2004.

At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Pinsent's fourth Olympic Games, Pinsent stroked the boat, with Cracknell, Ed Coode and Steve Williams. In a close race with world champions Canada, they again won gold.

Pinsent was elected to the International Olympic Committee's Athletics Commission in 2001, replacing Jan Železný. In 2004, at the Athens Olympics, Pinsent failed to secure re-election to the post, being replaced by Železný.[1]

The 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m), 17 stone (110 kg)[2] Pinsent had at one time the largest lung capacity recorded for a sportsman at 8.5 litres. This has since been surpassed by fellow rower Peter Reed who has been measured at 9.38 litres.[3]


Pinsent announced his retirement from rowing on 30 November 2004,[4] and was made a Knight Bachelor in the New Year's Honours list announced on 31 December 2004.[5] He had already been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1993,[6] raised to Commander in 2001.[7] He was awarded the Thomas Keller Medal by the International Rowing Federation in 2005.[8]


Olympic Games

World Championships

  • 2003 – 4th, Coxless Pair (with James Cracknell)
  • 2002 – Gold, Coxless Pair (with James Cracknell)
  • 2001 – Gold, Coxless Pair (with James Cracknell)
  • 2001 – Gold, Coxed Pair (with James Cracknell, Neil Chugani)
  • 1999 – Gold, Coxless Four (with James Cracknell, Ed Coode, Steve Redgrave)
  • 1998 – Gold, Coxless Four (with James Cracknell, Tim Foster, Steve Redgrave)
  • 1997 – Gold, Coxless Four (with James Cracknell, Tim Foster, Steve Redgrave)
  • 1995 – Gold, Coxless Pair (with Steve Redgrave)
  • 1994 – Gold, Coxless Pair (with Steve Redgrave)
  • 1993 – Gold, Coxless Pair (with Steve Redgrave)
  • 1991 – Gold, Coxless Pair (with Steve Redgrave)
  • 1990 – Bronze, Coxless Pair (with Steve Redgrave)
  • 1989 – Bronze, Coxed Four (with Terry Dillon, Steve Turner, Gavin Stewart, Vaughn Thomas)

Junior World Championships

  • 1988 – Gold, Coxless Pair (with Tim Foster)
  • 1987 – 4th, Eight

Broadcasting career

Since retiring from rowing, Pinsent has worked for the BBC as a sports bulletin presenter and reporter. His assignments have included interviewing Dwain Chambers for Inside Sport, where Chambers confessed to taking drugs,[9][10] and visiting gymnastics training centre in China where he found evidence of children being beaten, leading to IOC President Jacques Rogge to order an inquiry.[11]

Personal life and genealogy

Pinsent is directly descended from John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk and thus from Edward I of England and William the Conqueror.[12]

He is married to Demetra; they have twin boys, Jonah and Lucas (born 2006) and a daughter, Eve (born 2008).[citation needed]

Styles and honours

  • Mr Matthew Pinsent (1970–1993)
  • Mr Matthew Pinsent MBE (1993–2000)
  • Mr Matthew Pinsent CBE (2000–2004)
  • Sir Matthew Pinsent CBE (2004–)


  • Pinsent, Matthew (2 September 2004). A Lifetime in a Race. Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0091901493. 


  1. ^ "Pinsent loses IOC role". BBC Sport Online. 26 August 2004. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Pinsent 'humbled' by knighthood". BBC Sport Online. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  3. ^ Harris, Nick (15 August 2006). "Rowing: Reed blows away competition with breathtaking ability". The Independent. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  4. ^ "Pinsent calls time on rowing career". The Daily Telegraph. 30 November 2004. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  5. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57509. p. 1. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  6. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53153. p. 16. 30 December 1992. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  7. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56070. p. 7. 30 December 2000. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  8. ^ "Pinsent to Receive Rowing's Top Honour". British Rowing. 18 May 2005. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  9. ^ Mackay, Duncan (9 March 2008). "Coming Clean". The Observer. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  10. ^ Pinsent, Matthew (28 May 2007). "Pinsent on Chambers". BBC Sport Online. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  11. ^ Hart, Simon (4 December 2005). "Olympics: Rogge backs Beijing over human rights". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "Matthew Pinsent". Who Do You Think You Are?. BBC One. 18 October 2007. No. 7, series 4.

External links

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