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Richard Ayling

Full name: Richard John Ayling
Nickname(s): Lurch
Gender: Male
Height: 6-3.5 (193 cm)
Weight: 205 lbs (93 kg)
Born: June 1, 1952
Died: November 1, 2016 in Kingston-upon-Thames, Greater London, Great Britain
Affiliations: KRC, Kingston-upon-Thames (GBR)
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Rowing

Related Olympians: Husband of Astrid Ayling.


Richard Ayling’s contribution to rowing went way beyond his own skill as in international rower as he was involved in oar manufacturing, boat building and coaching. But it was as an oarsman that ‘Lurch’, as he was called by his team-mates, first gained notoriety in 1975 when he was a member of the National eight that beat Harvard by two lengths to win the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley, before narrowly missing out on a medal in the coxed fours at that year’s World Championships at Nottingham, when they were beaten to the bronze medal by the West Germans by just over one second. At the Montreal Olympics the following year Ayling was in the coxless fours that qualified second from their heat, but were then last in their semi-final, and last again in the B final.

Richard worked in the family business making hand-crafted wooden blades, before moving into making boats which saw some of the sport’s great like [Andy Holmes], [Matthew Pinsent], [James Cracknell] and [Sir Steven Redgrave] all win Olympic gold in an Ayling shell. But his association with the sport did not end there. In 1978, after studying the techniques of the top German rowers, he took up coaching at the Kingston Rowing Club, where he had been a member since 1970, and went on to develop many future international rowers, and in 1981 he sent three Kingston teams to the Munich World Championships and in the coxed fours, which contained Andy Holmes, they pushed the strong East Germans until the closing stages of the race before falling away and finishing fifth. However, they went on to win at Henley that same year. Ayling continued coaching internationally until 1986, and at club level until shortly before his untimely death at the age of 64. He was also the editor of Rowing and his wife [Astrid] was a West German international rower who went on to represent Great Britain at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, and like her husband was a Royal Henley winner, a rare achievement for a married couple.


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Rowing Men's Coxless Fours Great Britain GBR 12

Men's Coxless Fours

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit T
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Rowing Great Britain GBR Final Round B Final 6:53.02
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Rowing Great Britain GBR Semi-Finals Heat One 6:08.71
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Rowing Great Britain GBR Round One Heat Two 6:16.32
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