HEBDEN'S triple Olympic rowing champion Andy Hodge has announced his retirement from international competition at the age of 37.

Hodge was part of the Great Britain crews that won gold in the coxless fours in Beijing and London before helping the men's eight to victory in Rio last summer.

In addition, Hodge won four world titles between 2005 and 2014, and the coxless fours title at the European Championships in Belgrade two years ago.

Hodge said: "I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the chance to get involved, and had the attributes to succeed, in this wonderful sport.

"Rowing is a world of hard working individuals that thrive in a team environment.

"I feel fortunate to have been part of such a great community of people who get the best from themselves and encourage the best from those around them.

"With the impending delivery of our second child, the security of an exciting job and the feeling that my body was getting to the end of its athletic life, Rio was a fitting way to complete my Olympic journey and end my career in rowing."

Hodge began his international career in disappointing fashion in 2004 when he was part of a heavily weakened men's eight that trailed in ninth and last in the final of the Athens Olympics.

But he said the lingering feeling of injustice over selection issues fuelled his journey to the top of the sport which began when he claimed his first world title as part of the coxless four in Japan the following year.

He added: "Our failure in Athens 2004 seeded an anger and a ruthless desire to prove myself. Starting in Oxford in 2005 and culminating with Beijing 2008, this anger was the foundation of my first Olympic gold.

"At London 2012 we proved we weren't a one-hit wonder. Everything changed for Rio 2016 – a year out through illness and a re-positioning within the team, (but) it was the race that delivered so much."