LONDON (Reuters) – Double Olympic champion Helen Glover moved closer to becoming the first British mother to row at a Games on Sunday when she won women’s pair gold at the European championships in her first competition for nearly five years.
The 34-year-old, a winner in the Italian lakeside city of Varese with Polly Swann, has had three children since the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics and is aiming for a comeback at the Tokyo Games in July.
Glover won coxless pairs gold at Rio and the London 2012 Games with now-retired Heather Stanning.
Swann, 32, won an Olympic silver medal with the women’s eight in 2016.
The pair led the field throughout in Varese and held off Romania to win.
“I was literally thinking today ‘am I going to make it down the track?’, which is silly because I do it in training every day, but just something about racing makes those doubts come to the surface,” said Glover.
“But I’ve squashed all those down, and I can move forward in being the athlete I know I am, and also into being the athlete I want to be as well.”
Glover gave birth to boy and girl twins Kit and Bo last year and also has a two-year-old son Logan.
“Logie bear, little Kit, my Bo. This is for you,” she said on Twitter with a picture of the medal.
She said in January that the thought of a comeback came to her last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when she wanted to regain her fitness after giving birth and started training on a rowing machine during the twins’ nap time.
“Because I’m the first British woman to make it this far in rowing as a mum, the research isn’t there so we’re learning as we go,” she wrote in a recent BBC column.
“The physios are really excited — they see it as a challenge that we can find out even more about the human body.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)