Michael Braithwaite, Canadian Olympic Rower, to Retire from International Competition


Canadian Olympic Rower, Michael Braithwaite, who represented Canada at the London 2012 Olympic Games, announced his retirement from rowing recently.

“For nearly a decade I’ve dedicated my entire life to rowing a boat as fast as possible,” said Braithwaite.

“I’ve been very fortunate to represent Canada in international competition around the world, winning medals along the way and earning a spot at the starting line of the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

“This has been the most difficult decision I’ve ever faced. My ultimate goal upon arriving at the Victoria Training Centre nearly 5 years ago was to represent Canada in Rio. Unfortunately I’ve lost the drive that kept me always pushing to achieve my potential in the sport, something that cannot be faked in a pursuit as demanding as international rowing. I leave behind a talented and insanely driven group of rowers – my former teammates – who I’m certain will find great success in Rio and beyond.”

Braithwaite won a bronze medal at the 2014 World Rowing Cup II in the men’s quadruple sculls and was also a bronze medallist in the men’s single scull at the 2009 World Rowing U23 Championships. He remains the only Canadian to ever medal in this event. At the London 2012 Regatta, Braithwaite competed in the men’s double sculls with Kevin Kowalyk and finished the competition in 12th position.

Photo: Braithwaite (second from right) with Canada’s Men’s Quad (M4x) and coach, Howie Campbell, at the 2014 World Rowing Cup II after winning bronze. 

“I could not have achieved any of these successes without the support of so many. My friends and family have been with me the whole way, cheering me on and never begrudging me all the time I spent far away from them, training on the lake or racing across the world. My coaches and teammates helped me through the hard times and pumped me up through the highs. I’m especially thankful to my coaches at the Victoria Training Centre, including Howie Campbell, Martin McElroy, Nick Clarke, John Wetzstein, Terry Paul, Alison Dobb, Doug White, Rob Watering, and to all the hard-working trainers and support staff,” said Braithwaite.

“We would like to thank Michael for his years of dedication to the U23 and Senior National Rowing Teams,” said Peter Cookson, Director of High Performance for Rowing Canada Aviron. “Michael has been a large part of our team for a long time. He was the first Under 23 male athlete to win a medal at the World Rowing U23 Championships in a single scull back in 2009 and then Michael went on to be a member of the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team.” 

Braithwaite came up through the Canadian ranks as a junior rower at the Maple Bay Rowing Club. He then headed east to study at and compete for the University of Toronto, for which he was awarded the honour of Canadian University Oarsman of the Year in 2009. He is a four-time National Champion in the men’s single sculls (U23 Champion in 2008 and 2009; Senior Champion in 2010 and 2013).

In his post-rowing life, Braithwaite plans to pursue other passions including design, furniture fabrication, and event planning and promotion.

Photo: Canada’s M4x at the 2014 World Rowing Championships with Braithwaite, second from the right. Credit: Katie Steenman Images