Jürgen Grobler has stepped down as British Rowing head coach ©Getty Images

Jürgen Grobler has stepped down as head coach of the British rowing team after 29 years ahead of the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Grobler coached the former East Germany before moving to Britain in 1991.

He has overseen medal-winning crews at every Olympics since 1972, apart from Los Angeles 1984 when East Germany was among the nations to boycott the Games.

Grobler has personally coached eight gold-medal crews from Britain in each of the past seven Olympic Games, including greats such as Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Matthew Pinsent, Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge.

As head coach for men, and latterly head coach for men and women, Grobler has directly coached 20 Olympic champions to 33 gold medals from eight British crews.

Grobler had been due to retire after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which were postponed until 2021 earlier this year due to coronavirus.

He has now stepped down prior to the Games, with the 74-year-old saying he cannot commit for the next four years through to Paris 2024.

"I have had the most incredible experience with the GB Rowing Team working with fantastic British athletes for nearly three decades," Grobler said.

"This has been a hard and difficult decision but British Rowing has big plans for Paris 2024 and we want to organise it now to give the GB Rowing Team the best chance of success.

"I can’t commit for the next four years so I have resigned in order to let everything start now."

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is among the officials to have paid tribute to Grobler and his achievements.

"Behind every great athlete and every great team is a great coach," Bach said.

"They are the unsung heroes of sport.

"So it gives me great pleasure to pay tribute to Jürgen Grobler who is an exceptional talent and someone who has benefited so many athletes.

"His dedication is a great example for everyone in the Olympic Movement.

"I wish him all the best for the future.”

British Rowing said Grobler moulded Redgrave and Pinsent into one of the best pairs of all time after arriving at the Leander Club to coach in 1991.

The duo won gold at both Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996, before overseeing their move into the men’s four.

With Tim Foster and James Cracknell, the crew won world titles in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

The quartet successful claimed gold at Sydney 2000, with Sir Steve winning a historic fifth consecutive gold medal at the Games.

Britain topped the rowing medals table at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics, with the hosts securing four gold, two silver and three bronze medals at the latter.

The Rio 2016 Olympics saw Britain win gold in both the men’s four and men’s eight.

A total of 23 crews have medalled at World Championships since Grobler joined British Rowing in 1991, with 16 securing gold.

Grobler was awarded Sports Coach UK’s Lifetime Achievement Award in November 2016 and Lifetime Achievement Award at the BT Sports Industry Awards in April 2017.

"Jürgen’s contribution to rowing as a coach is simply tremendous," World Rowing President Jean-Christophe Rolland said.

"He has one of the most impressive achievement lists in the rowing landscape and probably even beyond in the world of sport.

"Jürgen first coached a crew to an Olympic medal back at the 1972 Olympics when he was just 26 years old and then continued to coach Olympic medal-winning crews through to the last Olympic Games in Rio.

"Jürgen is very much respected among his peers and they all know of his knack of putting together the right combinations in team boats and also the knack of getting his crews to peak just at the right time.

"We will miss seeing Jürgen at international events especially seeing him biking along beside races – usually out in front.”