Thompson awarded Honorary Doctorate

Paul Thompson MBE, the GB Rowing Team’s Chief Coach for Women and Lightweights, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Warwick.


Paul Thompson pictured with Sir George Cox, Warwick's Pro-Chancellor

Paul Thompson MBE, the GB Rowing Team’s Chief Coach for Women and Lightweights, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Warwick.

He was recently presented with his Honorary Doctor of Laws (Hon LLD) by Sir Nigel Thrift, the University’s Vice-Chancellor.

Thompson joined British Rowing’s staff in 2001 and has since coached boats to multiple Olympic and World medals, starting with Katherine Grainger and Cath Bishop who took World women’s pair gold in 2003 in Milan.

He was GB’s Lead Coach for Women at the Athens Olympic Games, steering a break-through GB performance with all the open weight women’s boats taking a medal.

Subsequently taking up the role of GB Rowing Team Chief Coach for Women and Lightweights, Thompson’s squads have enjoyed a myriad of success.

The GB women’s quadruple scull, under his direct guidance, won World golds in 2005, 2006 and 2007, followed by Olympic silver in 2008. The lightweight men’s double scull of Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter also raced to Olympic gold in Beijing.

Perhaps the pinnacle of his career to date came, though, at the home Olympic Games of 2012 when three female crews – the women’s pair, open women’s double and lightweight women’s double – all took gold backed by silvers from the lightweight men’s double and four.

In 2007 Thompson was awarded FISA Coach of the Year and in 2013 he was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

Thompson said: “I am clearly very proud that I, and our sport, have been honoured in this way.  It is not very often that we receive recognition outside of Olympic and sporting circles and this is tribute to everyone who works so hard to make the GB Rowing Team one of the most consistently successful teams in world sport.”

Sir David Tanner, British Rowing’s Performance Director, said:  “Thank you to Warwick University for honouring Paul in this way.  He is widely respected as one of the leading coaches in world rowing and has made a huge contribution to British success on the water in his 15 years with the GB Rowing Team. This recognition will mean a great deal to Paul and I am very pleased for him.”

Andy Parkinson, CEO of British Rowing, added: “I am delighted that Paul’s hard work and dedication to rowing has been recognised in this way. He has been instrumental to our past successes and is a vital member of our coaching team as we head towards Rio 2016.”

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