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Rowing: Double Olympic champion Glover is a mum on a mission for Tokyo


January 28, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s double Olympic champion Helen Glover is aiming for a comeback at the Tokyo Games after four years away from elite rowing and having three children.

The 34-year-old said on Thursday she wants to be the first mother to be selected for a British Olympic rowing team.

“I want to physically show my little girl Bo that you can be and do what you want to,” Glover, who has a two-year-old son and one-year-old boy and girl twins, told the BBC.

“That really inspires me, probably even more than I was for London and Rio.”

Glover, who is training full time with the British Rowing sweep squad at Caversham, won coxless pairs gold at the London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games with now-retired Heather Stanning.

GB Rowing performance director Brendan Purcell said all options were open.

“There’s a lot left to be decided but Helen has already displayed her qualities as an elite level athlete by placing herself in contention for Tokyo,” he added.

Glover said the thought of a comeback came to her last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It started as a desire to get my fitness back after having the twins, training during their nap time. When lockdown came it meant more hours on the rowing machine than I had anticipated,” she told British Rowing.

“As my scores and times started getting better, I began to wonder if I could be the first woman in British Rowing history to make an Olympic team after having children.

“I’m finding the journey exciting and extremely challenging.”

The postponement of the Games for a year also made the unthinkable look possible, but the focus has changed.

“Before London and Rio it was gold or nothing…it felt like the most important thing in the world,” she said.

“My big picture is very, very different this time. I’m a mum and we’re living in a pandemic. There are so many things that constantly remind me sport is not the most important thing.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)