By Tom Masters
Helen Glover has seen it all in sport, including incredible highs and painful lows but she is more motivated than ever to get back on the Olympic podium.
Glover, 37, has twice taken a backwards step from rowing, including a four-year absence in between the 2016 Olympic Games and preparation for the 2020 Games.
In that time, the Truro rower got married to BBC presenter Steve Backshall and had three children but she always had a hankering desire to get back on the water.
She finished fourth in Tokyo, becoming the first mother to row for Great Britain at the Olympics in the process, but now she is back for more in the women’s four.
She said: “I think I am just really lucky that I really am motivated by being part of this team, by being part of sport, I have the old motivations I have always had for succeeding and competing, they are still there.
“Plus I now have new motivations, I want my kids to be part of it and them seeing me work hard, in that sense, I have got more motivation than I have ever had before.
🏆2023 World Rowing Championships 🏆
The #GBRowingTeam are tackling 7 days of racing in Belgrade, Serbia 🇷🇸 🇬🇧
Find live results on the British Rowing website 👇 https://t.co/kUeNKs5I4l
Watch the racing on @WorldRowing's live stream 👇 https://t.co/fQ1ppa633I pic.twitter.com/v1Z30ezX0H
— British Rowing (@BritishRowing) September 4, 2023
“I have a bigger perspective on life and sport but I am still nervous because I have more people in a boat with me, I have people that I really want to do well for, I want to succeed for, so the nerves are probably about me being the best version of myself and for my teammates as well.”
Glover has one thing in mind heading into Olympic year, returning to winning medals after heartbreak three years ago. To do that, the crew must qualify the boat for Paris before all eyes can really turn to next summer.
“We are open to seeing how we go through the regatta, we know all other crews have stepped on and they will step on further with this being qualification for the Olympics,” she continued.
“I think we definitely want to focus on making sure the boat is qualified and using this regatta as a stepping stone moving forwards.
“After Tokyo, I thought I had finished again, I had a second retirement!
“This time last year, I was actually in the BBC commentary box, I was not even thinking about rowing, it has been since November that I have been back, so not even a year since I returned and I think that actually, that is what is so exciting about it.
“I have chosen to do this and I want to do this and next year, I would definitely want to be in the position where I could get a medal in Paris being on that podium is my goal, I see this World Championships as not the end goal, I see it as a step towards getting on the podium in Paris.”
📣 World Rowing Championships: Team Announcement 📣
62 athletes have been selected across the three squads to represent Great Britain at the 2023 World Rowing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia from 3-10 September 2023 🇬🇧
Full team list 👇https://t.co/cJ8WaKMLVF#GBRowingTeam pic.twitter.com/r4q6Nvgcyb
— British Rowing (@BritishRowing) August 22, 2023
Glover has joined a boat that last year was victorious in the 2022 World Championships, completing the team with reigning world champions Heidi Long, Rowan McKellar and Rebecca Shorten in Serbia.
But as a two-time Olympic gold medallist – winning women’s coxless pairs gold alongside Heather Stanning in 2012 and 2016 – and a three-time world champion herself, she has ensured that she is adding something to an already successful boat by letting her rowing do the talking.
She added: “I guess I always just try to lead by example, being calm and confident and meticulous about the way we row and doing things day-to-day in a way that I go about things, I think that is the best way of making a positive impact.
“I definitely did not want to come in here all loud or shouting about the way things used to be or anything like that, I think just me trying to be the best version of myself hopefully is a good addition to the team.”
British Rowing is searching for the next generation of GB Rowing Olympians & Paralympians - could that be you? The Olympic Pathway programme recruits and develops individuals with no prior rowing experience who have the potential to become Olympic rowers. Learn more at britishrowing.org/performance-development-academies. Similarly, visit our website to learn more about our successful Paralympic Programme and register for testing: https://www.britishrowing.org/gb-rowing-team/para/. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund