Former Olympian Michael Braithwaite, who got his start with the Maple Bay Rowing Club and rose to the top of the sport, announced his retirement from competition earlier this year.
"For nearly a decade I’ve dedicated my entire life to rowing a boat as fast as possible," Braithwaite said. "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."
With another Olympics just a year away, it wasn’t easy for Braithwaite to step aside.
"This has been the most difficult decision I’ve ever faced," he said. "My ultimate goal upon arriving at the Victoria Training Centre nearly five 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."
Just last year, Braithwaite won a bronze medal at the 2014 World Rowing Cup II in the men’s quadruple sculls. He was previously a bronze medallist in the men’s single scull at the 2009 World U23 Championships, and remains the only Canadian ever to medal in that event. Braithwaite and his partner Kevin Kowalyk finished 12th in the men’s double sculls at the 2012 Olympics in London.
After first taking up the sport with the Maple Bay Rowing Club, Braithwaite went on to compete for the University of Toronto, where he was named Canadian University Oarsman of the Year in 2009. He won the national single sculls championship at the U23 level in 2008 and 2009, and at the senior level in 2010 and 2013.