Helen Glover making rowing return with Paris Olympics target
Helen Glover admits she’s adapting to having less sway in her boat as she steps into the world champion women’s four at the European Championships.
The 36-year-old mum of three won two Olympic titles in the pair with Heather Stanning but will start her road to Paris 2024 in a larger shell.
Glover will join Rebecca Shorten, Rowan McKellar and Heidi Long in the British women’s four that went through the 2022 season unbeaten.
“It’s a really nice combination,” she said. “It feels quite familiar in terms of rowing with some people who feel a bit more like Heather (Stanning) and some who feel a bit like Polly (Swann, Tokyo partner).
“Actually they’re all their own people and they all have a lot of experience. That is coming together really well.”
The European Championships will be held at Lake Bled from 25-28 May.
Glover’s husband Steve Backshall is making the trip to Slovenia with twins Kit and Willow to watch their mum return to international rowing.
Son Logan, four, may not join them due to Passport Office strikes that have delayed the renewal of his passport. He’ll join his grandparents on holiday in Cornwall should the passport not arrive in time.
Glover, who has never raced a four internationally, replaces Samantha Redgrave from the crew that struck global gold in RaÄice.
The four beat the rest of the world by more than two seconds last September and were nominated for Team of the Year at the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards.
Glover will sit in the three seat, behind Belfast star Shorten in the stroke seat, with whom she combined in April’s Trials to claim a first British small-boat title since 2016.
“I’m used to having a lot more control,” said Glover. “You’re almost handing over that control and you’re a bit more of a cog in the machine. It does feel quite different and there are different challenges.
“I definitely feel a lot of pressure sitting in three. It’s a bit of an engine room seat, so I’ve got to make sure my engine is going well, which it seems to be.
“The race is 30 seconds shorter, which is nice! It’s a bit more fast and furious.”
Great Britain topped the medal table at last year’s European Championships in Munich, winning ten medals and six golds.
Glover said: “As a crew we’re taking our first steps into racing so we’re just being open-minded to where we are so we can make a plan moving forward.
“We want to come away with a medal but most important is putting together strong performances and finding out what we can improve on. We want to be on the podium, for sure.”
British Rowing is the governing body for the sport and is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund. To find out more, and to follow the team, head to https://www.britishrowing.org/