Matthew Pinsent was a student at Oxford University when he won a bronze medal in the coxed four at the 1989 World Championship. He was then given the honour of becoming the coxless pair partner of rowing legend Stephen Redgrave.
They won the World Championship in 1991 and then easily claimed the Olympic title in 1992. The pair continued to dominate their event, gaining gold medals in the next three World Championships. At the 1996 Atlanta Games, the pair built a huge lead of 3.04 seconds at the halfway mark of the final and then won comfortably. It was their 100th race together.
After the Atlanta Games, they switched to the coxless four and won three more World Championships. The British crew of Redgrave, Pinsent, James Cracknell and Tim Foster went undefeated for three years until they unexpectedly placed fourth at the Lucerne meet. Three months later at the 2000 Sydney Games, the British led the final from start to finish, holding off a strong finish by the Italian crew.
At the 2004 Athens Games, Pinsent again rowed in the coxless four. In a sensational race, the British and Canadian crews crossed the finish line together. It took three minutes for the officials to determine that Pinsent and his crew had won by just ten centimetres. Pinsent had become only the third rower to win gold medals at four different editions of the Olympic Games.