British Rowing head coach Jurgen Grobler has stepped down from the role after almost 30 years – 11 months out from the rearranged Tokyo Olympics.
The 74-year-old coached East Germany before becoming GB head coach in 1991, and is the most successful Olympic rowing coach in history.
He has won medals at every Olympics since 1972, except for Los Angeles 1984, which East Germany boycotted.
“It’s a job undone because of the delay of the Olympics,” he told BBC Sport.
Grobler had planned to retire after the 2020 Games, which were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
He has not officially retired from coaching, but said he would not be seeking another role “at the moment”.
Grobler added: “It was not a choice; of course, the Olympics is always four years’ planning and British Rowing had a big ambition to start the Olympic campaign now for Paris 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.
“I can’t commit myself for four years. If that’s a thing they want to do, I can see it and I don’t want to be in the way.”
Grobler directly coached 20 British Olympic champions to 33 gold medals from eight crews. He has coached GB crews to gold medals at every Olympics since Barcelona 1992.
In addition to his Olympic successes, 21 crews have won medals at World Championships since 1993 under Grobler, 14 of which won gold.
Throughout his time at British Rowing, he was chief coach for the men, but has coached both the men and women in recent years.
He admitted his disappointment in not being able to lead the team into Tokyo next year, particularly the men’s eight.
“This time everything would have fitted so well,” he said. “I was so sure we could win the 2020 men’s eight; to do it again was my inside drive and it would have been on my birthday.”
Grobler told the squad of his decision to step down on Thursday, exactly 50 years to the day he started his professional coaching career.
“There was a little bit of shock – they didn’t expect that from me,” he said. “There was a moment’s silence, very emotional of course.
“I tried to fire them up to carry on. That’s how life is, nothing is forever.”
Grobler’s first two Olympic titles with GB came from the pairing of Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent at the 1992 and 1996 Games.
He then presided over their move into the coxless four, which won gold at Sydney 2000. It has become Great Britain’s flagship boat, winning gold at every Olympics since.
In 2000, he won the Coach of the Year award at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year ceremony, and was made an OBE in 2006.