Heather Stanning, the two-time Olympic gold medallist, announced her retirement from rowing at the age of 31 on 8 November. Alongside her partner, Helen Glover, the pair became the first women to retain their title in the coxless pairs at the Rio games this summer.

Speaking at the Army Sports Awards, Stanning told the BBC she had known shortly after her victory in Rio that she would not compete at another Olympic games. She said: "I don't feel I've got anything else to prove."

Stanning and Glover were part of a talent recruitment programme in 2006 in the run-up to the London 2012 games, where they won Team GB's first gold medal, though Stanning joined the army in 2008. She was promoted to major earlier this year and said that she now wants fully to focus on her military career.

Stanning said she wanted to give herself time to make the right decision, but that the timing was now right. She said while she could have taken longer, she wanted to make plans for the future.

She told the BBC: "It's about time I made the decision and it has helped me focus on what to do next – certainly with work and the army because I know that's something I want to go back to.

Speaking about her reason for retiring at a relatively young age, she said: "If I was honest with myself and said I was going to commit to another four years, would I have the same drive and determination I had four years ago? Probably not – therefore, is it worth half-heartedly committing to something?

"As last season progressed, I realised I'd achieved all I ever thought I could in the sport and, as you get older, it gets harder. I'm quite content with what I've achieved."

Since bursting onto the scene, Glover and Stanning have completely dominated the sport, with 39 consecutive victories and not a single defeat since 2011. However, despite her retirement, Stanning said it did not necessarily mean the end for Glover, who has also experienced success partnered with Polly Swann while Stanning was on duty in Afghanistan following the 2012 games.

Stanning is not the first member of Team GB's record-breaking Rio Olympics team to announce her retirement. Jessica Ennis-Hill and Sir Bradley Wiggins have said that Rio was their last, while Mo Farah is retiring from track athletics next year.

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning
Glover and Stanning (right) claimed Team GB's first gold medal of London 2012.