‘Anyone that gets to experience sport at any level knows its power’; from novice to Olympic champion in just four years, Helen Glover is the nation’s success story. The iconic face of the London Games, Helen put British female rowing on the map with her partner Heather Stanning as they became the first females to win Gold. She is now ranked the second best female rower in the world, and the only British rower ever to hold six tiles simultaneously – World and Olympic recorder holder and reigning champion in the Olympics, World Cup and European Championships. Receiving interview questions on Whatsapp from my editor in Vietnam (an avid rower and massive Glover supporter), when we do catch up Helen has just returned from a training camp overseas. More than happy to answer my quick fire questions; as we talk about everything from boats to breakfast, I soon realise that Helen is far more than an Olympic gold medallist. Her achievements have changed the history of women’s sport forever, making her an inspiration to any girl who has ever wondered whether she could reach the top.
First things first, as I know you don’t have long, how did you get into rowing and when did you realise you would take it up professionally?
I took up rowing in 2008, just four years before the London Olympics. I started through a talent identification programme and therefore was aiming to make it to the top from the moment I started.
You’ve just got back from a training camp – what is your schedule like, do you have to do any forms of cross training?
I train every day, either twice or three times a day. My training is mainly on the water but it is supplemented with sessions on the rowing machine and lifting weights in the gym three or four times a week.
What about in the winter?
We do a lot of our mileage on the water in the winter! The cold and snow just mean wrapping in a few more layers!
So what does an Olympic rower have for breakfast on the morning of a big race?
In the morning before I’m going to race I keep my food really simple and easy to digest. Normally I would eat porridge, toast or cereal with some orange juice for extra energy.
How did it feel to become one of the first female gold medal winners for British rowing?
To be the first ever female Olympic gold medallist alongside my rowing partner Heather Stanning was fantastic. It means a lot to me that we can be part of the history of women’s sport.
Do you think attitudes towards female rowing are changing, with the women’s Oxford vs. Cambridge boat race taking place on the same route as the man’s race for the first time?
Women’s sport in general is going from strength to strength. The interest and participation levels are very exciting and this is definitely reflected in the rowing world. Internationally, the competition is fierce and the women competing on the same course as the men in the boat race is a great step forwards.
On behalf of my editor Jade, do you prefer sculling or sweep?
I love both! I have only ever competed in sweep internationally so that is where I have experienced my success. But if I had more hours in my day, I’d love to be able to do more sculling.
Which boats do you prefer going in? With a crew, doubles or singles?
I prefer a small crew of two people, where you get the teamwork element but also know that you are highly accountable for your result.
What advice would you give someone hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Everyone has ups and downs but truly enjoying the experience is very important. Anyone that gets to experience sport at any level knows its power, and to experience it at the top is a real privilege.
Finally, what’s next for you?
The 2015 season is important as it culminates in the World Championships which are also Olympic qualifiers. We hope to build through this season to be in a strong position for the Rio Olympics next year.
On behalf of everyone here at Hotcourses – good luck!
If Helen has inspired you to try rowing, have a browse of the water sport courses on Hotcourses. Alternatively, with plenty of fitness courses available, however you choose to get active, we’ve got a course to help.