Gold medalist rower 'was too tall and lazy' to join family business, dad says

From Slow Moe to Olympic hero: Mohamed Sbihi Credit: PA

Olympic gold medalist Mohamed Sbihi could have joined the family business but was too tall and lazy, his dad has revealed.

On Friday the 28-year-old from South West London followed in the footsteps of Olympic heroes Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent clinching gold at Rio in the men's coxless fours.

But his father has revealed that he almost quit the sport at the very beginning of his rowing career.

"My son was not interested in rowing, he was very good at tennis instead and was winning trophies at 12 and 13," said his father, also called Mohamed.

"He was very tall for his age, a very big boy. Somebody from a rowing programme went around to his school and they noticed the size of him - they said he should be rowing.

"So at the age of 14 he was going to his first rowing class. But I don't think he fancied it because he turned to walk out the moment he got there.

"It was only because a PE teacher recognised him and knew he was supposed to be training instead that he told him to go back. I think that if the PE teacher hadn't been there at the same time as my son, would he have ever got involved in the sport?"

he shop has several photographs and trophies charting Sbihi's rowing career Credit: PA

The 6ft 8ins rower soon outgrew the family business, a barber's in Westminster, and his dad said he was even less interested in that than he was in rowing.

Mohamed Sbihi (second from left) , with team mates Alex Gregory, George Nash and Constantine Louloudis.

Mr Sbihi is recovering from heart surgery so watched his son's victory from his home in Surbiton. "I spoke to him after the medal, he was crying and we were just so happy, said his father.

"He's made us so proud. And he's made his grandma in Morocco proud too. She said he's made rowing famous over there."