Laurence Whiteley made his Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games.
After his recovery from Osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, Laurence was keen to get back into sport. Initially he pursued swimming and competed both nationally and internationally. Upon reflection, he decided his impairment and swimming were not the best fit. That led him into investigating rowing and in 2011 he joined Tees RC, where he was coached by Greg Beswick.
Laurence won the Home International Regatta in his first year of competition, then struck gold at both the British and European Indoor Rowing Championships in 2012 as well as the British National Championships.
Having competed with distinction in the non-Paralympic class trunk-arms men’s single scull, Laurence finally made his international debut in the mixed double scull at the 2015 World Championships in Aiguebelette, where he teamed up with newcomer Lauren Rowles to campaign for a spot at Rio 2016.
The pair only began training together in the summer after a two year search by the GB Rowing Team para-rowing coaches to find a trunk-arms mixed double scull partner for Laurence, with Lauren making the transition from athletics to rowing.
Despite their brief time together, Laurence and Lauren became the first GB crew to qualify for Rio 2016 as they won their repechage. They then went on to produce a fantastic performance in the final, winning silver as they finished just half-a-second behind Australia.
At Rio 2016, Rowles and Whiteley led from start to finish to win Paralympic gold in the most dominant victory of the day.
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