Coode hints at retiring after his 'long winter'

The Olympic rowing champion Ed Coode hinted yesterday that he may be ready to retire. Along with Matthew Pinsent, James Cracknell and Steve Williams, the 29-year-old was a member of the men's four that narrowly defeated Canada.

The Olympic rowing champion Ed Coode hinted yesterday that he may be ready to retire. Along with Matthew Pinsent, James Cracknell and Steve Williams, the 29-year-old was a member of the men's four that narrowly defeated Canada.

Coode suffered a traumatic time at the Sydney Olympics and nearly retired after finishing fourth in the pair while his two former crews, the four and the eight, won gold. After two months, Coode realised he needed to reach another Olympic final - and in stark contrast to four years ago he is now considering retirement while on the highest of highs.

"I couldn't have asked for more, a dream ending to finish on that race," he said yesterday. "I will never get tired of talking about that day. I love the fact that people enjoy seeing the medal. I think it means more to other people than it does to the athletes... This is a souvenir which I can never let go of."

Coode would not officially confirm his decision to retire but he indicated strongly that to reach Beijing is a challenge he might not be prepared to take. "It was a long winter and a lot of times I thought 'maybe I should be cutting my losses now'," he said. "I had some virus from over-training earlier in the year and there were lots of times when I was thinking after the Olympics maybe I should be calling it a day and get on with a future career."

One event which may persuade Coode to continue is the prospect of competing in the World Championships on home water: "They are in Britain in 2006 and that is a nice carrot. I will take a month's holiday in which we will all (Pinsent, Cracknell and Williams) make a decision on what our plans for the four years are going to be."

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