'Almost my worst nightmare' - Emma Twigg to quit rowing after another Olympic fourth place

A crushed Emma Twigg is to retire from rowing, shattered at falling short of an Olympic medal for the third time.

Emma Twigg, of New Zealand, competes in the women's rowing single sculls final during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Source: Associated Press

Former world champion Twigg isn't prepared to commit to another single sculls campaign after finishing fourth in the final in Rio, matching her result from 2012.

The 29-year-old says she wants to pursue other interests which have opened up after taking last year off to study overseas.

It made the result in Rio difficult to stomach.

"Another fourth, it's almost my worst nightmare but that's sport and there's other things in life. I'm looking forward to the next chapter," she told NZ Newswire.

"It's something I'll have to live with for the rest of my life that I won't be an Olympic champion, which is a dream I've had since I was a young girl."

Making her debut in a New Zealand eight in 2006, Twigg switched to the single a year later and made the class her own for a decade.

A gradual improvement resulted in four world championships medals, including gold in 2014.

Twigg undertook a master's course in sports management last year, leaving her needing to book a place for Rio via a sudden-death regatta in March.

She says that preparation didn't explain her inability to fire in the final.

Australian Kim Brennan, who Twigg was expected to challenge, powered to gold, followed home by American silver medallist Genevra Stone and third-placed Jingli Duuan of China.

Twigg says she was guilty of letting the trio get too far ahead early on.

She says her rivals have improved considerably and reckons she is a better sculler than during her unbeaten 2014 campaign.

Twigg won't reveal details of her plans but says her study course has opened her eyes to possibilities.

"It gives me some solace in the fact that there's more out there and those friendships that I've created are worth more to me than any Olympic medal.

"I feel I'm a completely different person."

Rowing New Zealand high performance boss Alan Cotter says he won't give up on keeping Twigg in the squad.

He will give her time to get over the disappointment before discussing her future, believing she still has plenty to offer.