Helen Glover MBE was one of the most prominent sporting stars to emerge from the 2012 Olympic Games, typifying the ideal that hard work breeds success.
Alongside her rowing partner, Heather Stanning, Helen wrote herself into the British history books by not only winning Team GB’s first Gold medal of the Games but claiming British Rowing’s first-ever female Gold medal.
Born in Truro, Helen showed sporting promise from an early age competing internationally as a junior in cross country and training in the England Hockey Satellite Squad. After completing a degree in Sport and Exercise Science along with a PGCE, Helen began teaching PE at a primary school in Bath. It wasn’t until after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing that Helen first stepped into a rowing boat.
Inspired by the Olympics, Helen was determined to be part of the world’s greatest sporting event and was talent-spotted through the Sporting Giants scheme. Gaining a place on the GB Rowing Team’s Start programme, she quickly progressed and won the senior single scull at Women’s Henley in 2008 and came 3rd in the Eight at the 2009 Head of the River Regatta.
In 2010, Glover gained Lottery funding which enabled her to give up her job as a teacher in order to train full time. She was partnered with Heather Stanning in the Women’s pairs and they announced themselves on the world stage later that year at the World Championships in New Zealand, giving an astonishing performance to win a Silver medal behind the reigning World Champions.
This fantastic achievement made Helen Glover the first athlete on the Sporting Giants scheme to win a medal at a senior World Championships. She continued to impress as 2011 saw the pair become British Champions, claim Gold in both the Munich and Lucerne World Cups and secure another Silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in Slovenia.
Leading up to London 2012, expectations had been raised as Helen approached the Games with an unbeaten record after winning all three World Cup regattas. The pair were flawless in their pursuit for Gold; pulling clear of the field from the start and maintaining the lead to the line to win Team GB’s first Gold of the London Games and a historic first ever Olympic Gold medal for British women’s rowing and cementing a truly remarkable few years for Helen Glover who just 4 years earlier had never rowed in her life.
Her incredible year concluded by being named on the New Year’s Honours list to become a Member of the Order of the British Empire.
In 2016, Helen and partner Heather Stanning won gold in the Olympic final in Rio.
Helen lives with her husband – wildlife TV presenter Steve Backshall and their three children near Maidenhead.
Helen is currently training for the Tokyo Olympic Games.