Two-time Olympic champion rower Helen Glover plots path to Paris Olympics with Team GB
OCCASIONALLY, Helen Glover flippantly wishes a serious injury could have ended all this madness.
Some form of physical setback or problem that could have forced her into retirement and ultimately given “closure” on her passion for rowing.
Helen Glover has won two Olympic gold medals for Team GBGetty
Glover, 36, announces today that she wants to compete at the Paris 2024 OlympicsGetty
It is one thing being a mum to three children under five, including a set of twins, and “literally just keeping my head above water” with everything that entails.
It is a completely different matter altogether doing that AND trying to prepare for another rollercoaster Olympics campaign.
But in truth, the competitive fire inside Glover – a two-time Olympic champion – had not diminished following her crack at the 2021 Tokyo Games.
And while she remains physical able to compete with the world’s best, the desire to go one more time, 12 years on from the London triumph, stoked her ambitions over the winter.
As she plots her path to the Paris 2024 Olympics, she hopes she can inspire other women that it is possible to combine motherhood and sporting excellence.
It was on the school run last October when her husband Steve Backshall – the respected BBC TV wildlife presenter – noticed that the oars were not ready to be hung up just yet.
Glover, 36, recalled: “We were driving with the kids in the back, discussing where my next goal would be.
“In terms of a practical sense, I fully intended on leaving it there after Tokyo.
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“I had done some coastal rowing and it reminded me how much I loved the training and having a focus.
“I was thinking, maybe I’ll join a CrossFit club, maybe I’ll do a triathlon.
“It was a few weeks from the November rowing trial and Steve said: ‘I think you should trial again.’
“I said: ‘You do know if I do well at the trials, I’ll be doing it again…’
“He said: ‘Absolutely. I have seen you, you’re not done!’
“I never would have done that off my own back. It was really Steve picking up on that, witnessing it.
“I’m finding it hard to walk away clearly. And it sounds crazy that when I first thought about retirement, I was thinking: ‘It’d be great to have a career-ending injury.’
“One that would take the decision away from me.”
Glover honestly thought she would turn up for those internal winter trials, get beaten and “that would really help close the door”.
Yet according to insiders at British Rowing, her numbers that day and ever since have been exceptional.
GettyGlover is married to Steve Backshall, who presents wildlife programmes for the BBC[/caption]
Despite finishing fourth with Polly Swann at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, Glover says the desire to continue rowing has not diminishedMarc Aspland – The Times
She has not lost any of the strength or willpower that propelled her to successive Olympic gold medals with Heather Stanning.
The Cornwall-born star said: “There will be a time when I cannot do it anymore.
“That time is probably not too far away. I’ll be 38 at the next Games.
“There will be a day where I’m physically no longer capable.
“Until that day comes, I feel like if I’m enjoying it, if it’s making me a better parent and person, then I should be doing it.”
Her 2023 targets will be the European Championships in Slovenia in May and then there are two World Cup regattas before the World Championships in Belgrade in September.
Glover – who finished fourth in Tokyo with qualified doctor Polly Swann – wants to be in “whatever the top British boat is” in the French capital.
British Rowing have given her permission to complete gym ‘land’ sessions at home – not at their training HQ – after she has put the children to bed.
She said: “When I think about Paris, the podium is definitely what I’m aiming for.
“I almost think of it that I don’t want to come home empty-handed.
“To see myself on the podium with my kids there. It’s quite ambitious, it’s a lot of hard work ahead of me, but to be on the podium is definitely a goal.”