Background image
Alexander Purnell_940x1160px

Alexander Purnell



Place of Birth

Brisbane, QLD

Junior Club

Shore School

Senior Club

Sydney University Boat Club


Mark Prater

Olympic History

Tokyo 2020

Paris 2024

High School

Shore School

Career Events

Rowing Men's Four (M4-)


Alexander's Story

Alexander Purnell has had a long and decorated rowing career for Australia. The Brisbane-born athlete first took up the sport at the Shore School in Sydney. From 2013, he competed for Australia across various youth competition including the Junior World Rowing Championships as well as World Rowing U23 Championship where he claimed a bronze medal.

After completing his secondary education Alex joined Sydney University Boat Club for his senior rowing. He won three titles across the 2014 and 2015 Intervarsity titles with his performances catching the attention of New South Wales rowing selectors.

His domestic career has been stellar, with Alex playing a key role in New South Wales claiming three straight King’s Cups from 2017 to 2019.

In 2017, Alex first earnt selection for the senior Australian team competing in World Rowing Cups II and III as well the World Rowing Championships where as part of the men's eight he claimed silver.

Alex also saw success as part of the quad scull team through 2018 and 2019. He claimed silver at the 2018 World Championships and the 2019 World Rowing Cup II.

Ahead of the delayed 2020 Tokyo Games, Alex forced his way into Australia’s two-time champion coxless four team. After dominating their heat in Tokyo, the team was locked in a tough battle in the final. The crew held off a fast-finishing Romanian and Italian boats to claim the gold medal in an Olympic record time of five minutes and 42.76 seconds.

The Olympics were extra special for the Purnell family, with Alex there alongside his dual-Olympian older brother Nick, becoming the first brothers on the Australian Olympic rowing team since 2004.

Alex and the men's four’s success did not wane following the Games. They took gold at the World Rowing Cup II and at the Stewards Challenge Cup in 2022.

At the 2023 Rowing World Championships, Alex and the men's four raced to qualify for the Paris Olympics. A 2nd place finish in their heat, followed by a third place run in the semi-finals was enough for the Australian men's four to qualify for the Paris Games.

At the 2024 World Rowing Cup II, Alex competed in the men's eight, which finished in fourth position.

Read More