Sad News: Carl Smith

British Rowing is sad to report the tragic death of four-time GB world champion Carl Smith, who was travelling home from a training session at Nottingham Rowing Club on New Year’s Day, when his car left the road and hit a tree.

The 48-year-old father-of-two was a long-time member of the GB rowing team through the 1980s and 90s, winning lightweight doubles world gold with fellow Notts County rower, Alan Whitwell, in 1986 on their home Holme Pierrepont course.

Carl went on to win gold in 1991 (LM4-), 1992 (LM4-) and 1994 (LM8+), as well as winning one silver and three bronze medals, and two bronzes at the 1986 Commonwealth Games (L1x/2x) in Edingburgh.

Among numerous Henley wins, Carl was part of the lengendary Notts County eight that won the Ladies Plate at Henley Royal Regatta in dramatic style in 1988, breaking the record not once, but twice in one day, after a re-row was awarded against final opponents Harvard, who complained of a piece of wood trapped under their fin, following the British crew’s five length victory.

Having already changed and started to celebrate, Notts County got back into their kit and went out and beat the three-stone-a-man heavier Americans again, lowering the record for a second time, by another two seconds, to six minutes 11 seconds. The prizegiving had already been held by the time of the re-race, but no-one returned home, with the Stewards Enclosure opened to the public and rammed to the rafters.

Amid memorable scenes, thousands roared them home and Sports Minister Colin Moynihan welcomed them back to the landing stage.  The crew reconvened at Henley this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their famous victory.

Our thoughts are with his wife, son and daughter.

Tribute by Nick Hartland

A tribute from some of Carl’s friends and colleagues at Nottingham Rowing Club is included in this report from This is Nottingham