Rowing

Helen Glover to make comeback for Tokyo 2020 after consecutive Olympic gold medals in rowing

The Rio 2016 and London 2012 champion decided during lockdown that she wanted to be the first mother to make a British rowing team for the Games.

By Ed Knowles ·

Double Olympic champion Helen Glover of Great Britain had been planning to enjoy the Olympics from the sofa, after adding a set of twins to her family.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Glover decided that it was worth trying to make the rowing team one more time.

“No woman has returned to the sport after having children and made it to an Olympic team, and that is huge,” she said to the Guardian.

Helen Glover (L) and Heather Stanning (R) celebrate winning Olympic gold in women's pairs rowing during the Rio 2016 Olympics

Helen Glover: Making a comeback to Olympic rowing

Even with her incredible Olympic mindset, the mother-of-three still shocked her partner – TV presenter Steve Backshall.

“When I first mentioned to him that I was thinking of coming back he said 'Helen, most people take up crocheting as a lockdown project, they don't decide to try to go to the Olympics. This is a little full-on even for you!,' she said to the BBC.

"In terms of training, this path is a bit untrodden. I am having to learn the hard way. The lack of sleep is a big thing.

"I have to deal with a low iron level, I'm still breastfeeding the twins and that takes it out of you.

"I'm doing shorter sessions and making them really hard. Maybe when I was younger I could get away with more. I could eat what I wanted and not think too much about recovery, but now every tiny thing makes a real difference."

The Olympic gold in Rio was Helen Glover's second after victory in London in 2012

Helen Glover: Olympic gold medal is not the target... yet

Chasing after an Olympic gold medal is not the current goal.

"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.

"If I get there and I race, I want to get the best result I can. But success does look different. I want to physically show my little girl Bo that you can be and do what you want to. That really inspires me, probably even more than I was for London and Rio."