Zac Purchase

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Zac Purchase MBE
Personal information
National team Team GB
Citizenship British
Born (1986-05-02) 2 May 1986 (age 30)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Residence Oxfordshire, England
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 11 st (70 kg)
Spouse(s) Felicity Purchase-Hill (2012 - present)
Country United Kingdom
Sport Men's rowing
Event(s) Lightweight Double Sculls
Club Marlow Rowing Club, Upton Rowing Club, Evesham Rowing Club

Zachary Jake Nicholas Purchase-Hill MBE (known as Zac Purchase MBE; born 2 May 1986) is a retired English rower.

Purchase won an Olympic Gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and a Silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Both medals were won in the Lightweight Men's Double Sculls.

He has also won three gold, one silver and a bronze at the World Rowing Championships.

Early life and education[edit]

Purchase was born in Cheltenham to Nicholas Purchase and Sara Holyer on 2 May 1986. Originally a competitive swimmer, Purchase started rowing in 1999 whilst a pupil at the King's School, Worcester.[1] Whilst at school, he also passed Grade 8 on the Saxophone with a Merit.

Following school, Purchase joined the British Rowing team as an U23 rower.

Rowing career[edit]

Purchase is widely regarded as one of the World's most successful lightweight rowers.

His main discipline was sculling with the majority of his international medals being won in the Lightweight Men's Double Scull with Mark Hunter.

In 2002, Purchase won his first international medals, a gold and silver at the Coupe de la Jeunesse and competed at the World Rowing Junior Championships the following two years. In 2003, aged 17, Purchase won the Fawley Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta.

in 2005, Purchase competed at the World Rowing U23 Championships in Amsterdam where he won a gold medal. He entered the Senior World Rowing Championships three weeks later and won a silver medal. Both medals were achieved in the Lightweight Men's Single Scull.

By 2006, Purchase was a full time member of the senior British Rowing, based in Caversham, Berkshire. The same year saw him summer a ligament injury in his left wrist, which stopped him training between January - May. Regardless of this, his competed at the World Rowing Championships in Eton, Berkshire that summer and won his first World Championship title, achieving a World Record in the Lightweight Men's Single Scull.

Following his success in 2006, Purchase moved to the Lightweight Men's Double Scull in order to train for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Purchase achieved a bronze medal with Hunter in this category at the 2007 World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany.

In 2008, Purchase went on to win an Olympic Gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing following an incredible season where they won the World Rowing Cup.

2009 saw Purchase take a year out of the sport due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Purchase won another two gold medals at the 2010 and 2011 World Rowing Championships, in New Zealand and Slovenia respectively.

He won his second Olympic medal (silver) at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Life after rowing[edit]

Since retiring from rowing, Purchase has taken part in a number public events and TV shows, including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Ready Steady Cook, Three Men in a Boat and A Question of Sport.

He regularly gives motivational speeches and hosts away days for businesses, schools and charities.

He has also qualified as a Personal Trainer.

On 27 November 2008, Zac Purchase officially named an eight rowing boat at The King's School, Worcester in honour of his Olympic Gold Medal win.

In August 2016, Purchase and his wife will launch a new fitness studio in Marlow, Buckinghamshire called Zacs. Zacs will offer exercise classes designed by Purchase, along with high quality personal training. Zacs classes are aimed at everyday people, regardless of their level of fitness or body type and aim to get more people active and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Personal life[edit]

Purchase was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours for services to sport and collected his award in June of that year.[2]

Purchase married long term partner Felicity Purchase-Hill (née Hill), also a former pupil and rower at the King's School, Worcester, shortly after the 2012 Summer Olympics at St Paul's Cathedral in London. The wedding was covered by Hello, published in Issue 1242 on 10 September 2012.

They have one daughter, Persephone Ophelia Purchase-Hill, born 30 October 2015.



  • 2012 London – Silver, Lightweight Double Scull (bow)
  • 2008 Beijing – Gold, Lightweight Double Scull (bow)

World Championships[edit]

  • 2011 Bled – Gold, Lightweight Double Scull (bow) with Mark Hunter
  • 2010 Lake Karapiro – Gold, Lightweight Double Scull (bow)
  • 2007 Munich – Bronze, Lightweight Double Scull (bow)
  • 2006 Eton – Gold, Lightweight Single Scull
  • 2005 Gifu – Silver, Lightweight Single Scull
  • 2005 Amsterdam – Gold, Lightweight Single Scull (U23 World Championships)

World Cups[edit]

  • 2012 Belgrade - Gold, Lightweight Double Scull (bow)
  • 2010 Bled - Gold, Lightweight Single Scull
  • 2008 Poznań – Gold, Lightweight Double Scull (bow)
  • 2008 Lucerne – Gold, Lightweight Double Scull (bow)
  • 2008 Munich – Gold, Lightweight Double Scull (bow)
  • 2007 Lucerne – Bronze, Lightweight Double Scull (bow)
  • 2007 Amsterdam – Silver, Lightweight Double Scull (bow)
  • 2007 Linz – Silver, Lightweight Double Scull (bow)
  • 2006 Lucerne – Gold, Lightweight Single Scull
  • 2005 Munich – Silver, Lightweight Single Scull
  • 2005 Eton – 4th, Lightweight Single Scull

World Under 23 Championships[edit]

  • 2005 Amsterdam - Gold, Lightweight Single Scull

GB Rowing Team Senior Trials[edit]

  • 2011 - 1st, Lightweight Single Scull
  • 2010 - 1st, Lightweight Single Scull
  • 2007 - 1st, Lightweight Single Scull

2009 New Years Honours[edit]

  • MBE, Services to Sport


  1. ^ Tozer, Malcolm, ed. (2012). Physical Education and Sport in Independent Schools. John Catt Educational Ltd. p. 289. ISBN 9781908095442. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58929. p. 21. 31 December 2008.

External links[edit]

  • [1]