Team GB rower Helen Glover out to ‘push boundary further’ and targets 2024 Olympics success | Olympics News

Helen Glover has set her sights on making her fourth appearance with Team GB at the Paris 2024 Olympics, having come out of retirement following the birth of her three children to row at the Tokyo 2020 games

9:11, UK, Wednesday 22 March 2023

Helen Glover’s insatiable desire to continue paving the way for future generations of mothers in elite sport has persuaded the two-time Olympic rowing champion to seek further success next year in Paris.

The 36-year-old, who won the coxswain doubles title alongside Heather Stanning in 2012 and 2016, had reversed a retirement decision to finish fourth at the delayed Tokyo Games in 2021 after giving birth to twins for just a year.

Glover’s bid to qualify for a fourth game – which will start in May at the European Championships in Slovenia – will be underpinned by the chance to further normalize participation from returning mothers at the highest level.

“When I walked away from Tokyo I was really proud that I had made it, but looking back I wondered what had changed for the next person,” Glover told the PA news agency.

“I felt like without pushing the line further, wanting more and demanding more from myself as an athlete, nothing else would happen.

“I feel like we are in a prime time for moms in sport. There are so many mums in British sport who are not only coming back but excelling and doing better than ever.

“I’ve always believed that if I have something exciting and challenging to do outside of parenthood, I’m the best mom I can be. I really feel like I’m the most energetic mom when that happens, and as long as that work-life balance always tips in favor of the kids, then I’m content.”

Glover, who also has a four-year-old son, Logan, admitted she had no clear intention of continuing to Paris until her motivation was reignited by her participation in the World Beach Rowing Championships in Wales in October.

She was persuaded to give the games another chance by her husband, TV host and naturalist Steve Backshall, who noted her enthusiasm during the beach event, which Glover calls her “catalyst” in the decision to return.

“The decision-making was almost entirely down to my husband’s encouragement,” added Glover. “I never intended to come back and I never actively initiated anything to move forward.

“I retired after Tokyo, but in the summer I started rowing some beach sprints and I enjoyed the challenge. When that was over, Steve suggested I take the exams, and it was almost surprising how welcome those words were to me. “

Glover is looking to compete in her fourth consecutive Olympics for Team GB

Glover will still face significant hurdles to book her place in a boat for Paris, starting with the European Championships and two World Cups ahead of the World Championships in Belgrade in September, which will also double as Britain’s qualifying races.

She first decided to embark on a quest to become the first mum to row for Britain at an Olympics, as part of what she jokingly described at the time as her “lockdown project that’s gone too far”.

After her performance in Japan, there was little idea Glover would turn her attention to Paris, but ironically, the magnitude of this performance, born of such unique times, ultimately contributed to the belief that she still had something to prove.

“What changed Tokyo for me was whether it’s possible,” Glover added. “The whole process was so short, there was Covid and I had just had the twins and I don’t think I really believed it was possible.

“In the end I was like, ‘I made it through all these challenges, why don’t I do it right now?’ It used to be about doing something that’s never been done before, now it’s about trying to do it in conjunction with trying to be the best mom I can be.”

Like her two-time Olympic gold medalist Max Whitlock, Glover strives to compete before her young children. Her three-year-old twins, Kit and Willow, are just approaching the age when they are ready to watch their mother compete live for the first time.

“All this big picture, all this trying to change the face of women in sports can be pretty daunting and pretty big,” Glover said.

“Then I think of the simplicity of looking up and seeing my kids in the stands and I think that’s going to be cool, whatever the outcome. They’re definitely of the age to come out and watch me compete. If they saw it happen, I think it would add everything together.”

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