By Nick Butler

Tom James celebrating his second gold medal at London 2012 ©AFP/Getty ImagesNovember 28 - Britain's Tom James has announced his retirement from rowing after a decade with the British team which included coxless four Olympic gold medals at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

After first winning a World Championship bronze medal in the eight at the 2003 World Championships in Milan the Welshman competed at the Athens Olympics the following year but failed to qualify for the final.

He took a second World Championship bronze medal in the eights at Munich in 2007 but it was after he subsequently switched boats that James found his niche, with the British four overhauling Australia in thrilling fashion to win the gold medal in Beijing. 

Despite suffering from a back injury in 2010 and from an irregular heartbeat in early 2012, James managed to win a first World title in 2011 before defending his Olympic title in equally formidable style in London.

He duly became the first Welshman to win back to back Olympic gold medals since three-day eventer Richard Meade in 1968 and 1972.

Tom James alongside team mates Alex Gregory, Peter Reed and Andrew Triggs-Hodge on the way to gold at London 2012 ©AFP / Getty ImagesTom James (second right) alongside team mates Alex Gregory, Peter Reed and Andrew Triggs-Hodge on the way to gold at London 2012 ©AFP/Getty Images

In addition to his international career James also raced four times for Cambridge University in the Boat Race, winning at his final attempt in 2007 when he was President.

James took a year out in 2013 to ponder his future and now becomes the latest international rowing stars to announce his retirement following London 2012 - with South Africa's lightweight four gold medal winner Matthew Brittain another to do so in recent weeks. 

Although he will stay involved in rowing in coaching capacities the 29-year-old James will now focus on a career in business consultancy.

"I've had a fantastic time during my 10 years with the senior squad - and it has been an incredible success," he said

"I feel very, very lucky - London 2012 was an experience which will never be bettered."

"Thank you to the sport of rowing and to the Great Britain rowing team.

"I'm not planning to distance myself from the sport and will still be doing a lot of work with both Cambridge University and Molesey Boat Club."