Matt Gotrel returned to sailing after winning an Olympic gold medal in rowing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He has since competed as a Grinder in SailGP since in the inaugural season and in the America’s Cup with the British Challenger in Auckland.
Gotrel started sailing at age 8, alongside his father and grandfather. After learning the ropes, he quickly took to high-performance skiff sailing, progressing into the Olympic 49er class. However, after experiencing some difficult loses, he shifted his attention to his education and began working toward a degree in engineering at Loughborough University. While there, he took up row and quickly ascended up the national rankings, eventually joining Great Britain’s rowing team just three years later.
Gotrel won his first world championship in the men’s eight in 2014, with his second coming the following year as Team Great Britain topped their season-long rivals Germany. He was selected as a member of the men’s eight for the 2016 season when he eventually competed in the Rio Olympics, putting on a dominating performance in the final race and becoming an Olympic champion.
Gotrel also has a silver (2015) and bronze (2016) medal from the European championships where he competed with Team GB to add to his impressive list of accolades.
The gold medallist, however, couldn’t turn down the opportunity to get back into a boat, pull on the national team jersey and represent Great Britain again, just now going a bit faster. In addition to competing on SailGP’s inaugural circuit, Gotrel is a part of the British America’s Cup challenge alongside Ainslie and current teammate Neil Hunter.
Gotrel was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to rowing.