Rowing champion Holmes dies at 51

OLYMPIC champion rower Andy Holmes, who partnered Sir Steve Redgrave to gold, has died aged 51.

Holmes rowed to victory alongside Redgrave in the coxed four in Los Angeles in 1984 and then as a coxless pair four years later in Seoul.

“It’s a very sad day,” said Redgrave. “It hits you very hard that somebody you rowed with is no longer with us. I rowed with him for five years and we were hugely successful.”

Holmes is thought to have died from Weil’s disease, a bacterial infection that poses a particular threat to watersports participants as it can be caught from rivers that contain the urine of infected animals.

“This is something most rowers know about and is educated to us,” added Redgrave, who went on to win win five Olympic golds in total. “But it is very rare that anything happens because rivers normally flow fast enough and dilute it.”

Holmes also won gold medals in the coxed four and coxless pairs at the 1986 Commonwealth Games and had recently been coaching the sport.

“The latest British success in rowing has come from the 1980s era,” said Redgrave. “It really put Britain on the map and Andy was at the forefront of that.

“He was a quiet guy, a loner. He was in his own little world but he was a fantastic athlete and a brilliant guy.”