Helen Glover has been named in Great Britain’s rowing squad for the Tokyo Olympics next month and is set to become the first British rower to compete at a Games after having children.
Glover, from Cookham, took an extended break from the sport after winning her second gold medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016. But she is one of only eight returning Olympians in the 45-strong GB squad and will partner Polly Swann in the women’s pair.
Glover now has three children with television presenter Steve Backshall - Logan, two, and one-year-old twins Kit and Willow. She said she hoped to ‘represent other parents and people who didn't believe what was possible.'
Speaking ahead of what will be her third Olympics, Glover said: “I thought it was an impossible mission this time last year, but I always had this day in my sights, and I feel really proud that it's here and that I've made the Olympic team.”
Swann, a silver medallist at Rio, also took some time away from the sport and last year worked as a junior doctor for the NHS during the pandemic. She said: “I've been on such a journey this Olympiad. Being in the boat with Helen takes me full circle.
“I love that the two of us have chosen to come back after time away and we're doing it because it's a sport we love, and I think racing at this Olympics will mean a little bit more to both of us."
Several other local rowers have made the squad for Tokyo, including Maidenhead’s Jack Beaumont who’s been named in the men’s quad alongside Harry Leask, Angus Groom and Thomas Barras.
Beaumont was part of the men’s quadruple sculls team that competed in the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Windsor’s Ollie Cook and Marlow’s Rory Gibbs will also team up with Matt Rossiter and Sholto Carnegie in the men’s coxless four team. Britain have won the coxless fours title in each of the past five Olympics, but Rossiter is confident they can cope with the pressure of trying to maintain that streak.
“There is a phenomenal heritage of men's fours from Great Britain but ultimately we want to go as fast as we can and write our own story,” he said.
The crew are all Olympic Games debutants, but they were gold medal winners at the European Championships in 2019 and were bronze medal winners at the World Championships.
Sunningdale's Hattie Taylor will row alongside Rowan McKellar, Karen Bennett and Rebecca Shorten in the women's four.
Windsor's Matilda Horn will also cox a women's eight team looking to match or improve on the silver medal won in Rio in 2016.
The team comprises Fiona Gammond, Sara Parfett, Rebecca Edwards, Chloe Brew, Katherine Douglas, Caragh McMurtry, Beccy Muzerie, Emily Ford.
The rowing events get under at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay on July 23.