Rowing: Double Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale announces retirement

New Zealand rowing icon Mahe Drysdale has announced his retirement, after missing selection for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Drysdale, 42, won Olympic gold as a single sculler at London 2012 and Rie de Janiero 2016, as well as bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games.

But despite his standing among the greats of New Zealand rowing, Drysdale withdrew from the men's eight elite squad and missed selection for the single sculls, ending any chance of a third consecutive Olympic gold.

"It's been an amazing journey," says Drysdale. "Rowing has given me a huge amount and shaped me into the person I am today.  

"I went from sitting on the couch watching the Olympics in 2000 to realising my dream of wearing the silver fern and winning three Olympic medals.

"I wish to thank all those that have contributed to my journey, and rode out the highs and lows with me," he says.

"I also want to thank the rowing community and the New Zealand public for all your support. I have taken huge pride representing you on the world stage and I hope I have made you proud."

Off the water, Drysdale was awarded New Zealand's highest sporting honour - the Supreme Halberg - in 2006 and was the Sportsman of the Year in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2016.

Drysdale was also made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.

New Zealand's rowing contingent to travel to Tokyo will be named on Friday.