Helen Glover and Heather Stanning defend Olympic title and claim gold for Team GB with storming win in Rio
- Great Britain have won their fifth gold medal of the Olympic Games
- Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were victorious in women's pair
- The two were defending the title they won for Team GB at London 2012
- New Zealand claimed silver with Denmark coming home third for bronze
According to Helen Glover, every stroke she and Heather Stanning took on Friday en route to Olympic glory — all 220 of them — was down to their coach Robin Williams.
Eighteen months after their triumph in the women’s pair at London 2012, Williams was struck down with bladder cancer and his battle against it has been the inspiration for them ever since.
‘He had a bad illness and you would never have known it,’ said a grateful Glover. ‘He was up for coaching when he should have been in bed. He was still there for us, we couldn’t have done it without him.’
Helen Glover, left, and Heather Stanning have won gold for Team GB at the Olympic Games
The British rowers were taking part in the women's pair event at the Games in Rio
The pair celebrate on the waterfront after claiming their second Olympic gold
Glover and Stanning embrace in front of the Olympic rings following the race
WOMEN'S PAIR PODIUM
Glover, from deepest Cornwall, and Major Heather Stanning of the Royal Artillery, had earlier completed an imperious victory to become the first British female rowers to successfully defend a gold medal.
Watching on was the self-effacing Williams who, according to his two rowers, would be acutely embarrassed by the praise they insisted on heaping upon him. For his part, he feels he owes them too.
‘I had cancer two years ago and that was a difficult time, they were a big part of my fightback,’ he said. ‘I felt there was still a lot to achieve with them. I didn’t lack drive to get better but it was an extra incentive.
‘I was in hospital and I was walking around the ward — 20 feet, 30 feet, 50 feet at a time when they were saying a few steps is enough. That’s how it starts off and I now go running and biking
‘They were fantastic that year and now that we have got to Rio 2016 and won I feel we have completely written the last chapter of the book, with the best ending possible for all of us. Whatever happens next we can hold this moment as a nugget in our memories and be proud and thrilled forever.’
Women’s pair Stanning and Glover are unbeaten in 39 races going back five years, one of the most dominant boats in the whole sport, along with their male counterparts in the same class, New Zealanders Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.
Aged 31 and 30 respectively, neither woman would rule out the prospect of continuing on to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo but will give priority to other areas of their life for the next year.
Glover and Stanning were defending the title they won for Britain at London 2012
The Brits recorded a time of 7:18.29 to complete a memorable victory at the Lagoa Stadium
They saw off competition from Denmark and New Zealand to take the gold
CAN EIGHTS GRAB TWO MORE MEDALS FOR GB?
In Glover’s case it is somewhat urgent as she gets married early next month to TV naturalist Steve Backshall in her native Cornwall, and she admitted she had done nothing to prepare for the big day yet.
Stanning will be her maid of honour and also needs to get on with organising the hen party, details of which she was reluctant to divulge.
Having been recently promoted from Captain to Major she will be off to Staff College at some point. But it will not be like the aftermath of London 2012, when she went off to do a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan at Camp Bastion.
She confessed to have been, uncharacteristically, ‘an emotional wreck’ this week but on the water they looked as serene as a pair of swans.
They were a huge four seconds up at the 1,500-metre mark and were much too far ahead for the late surge from New Zealand to bother them. Glover said that she was so relaxed after three minutes of the race that she was able to take it all in.
The gold medal is Great Britain's fifth of the Olympic Games in Rio so far
The pair join an elite list of British women to have won two Olympic gold medals
Glover and Stanning parade the Union Jack after securing GB's fifth gold of the Games
‘I definitely wasn’t racing as if this was my last race,’ said Glover. ‘We enjoy it, we love it, it’s a privilege to do this thing and it would be a big thing to walk away from it.’
Her only certainty about the future is that there will be free ice cream at her wedding, from the celebrated shop her parents run in Newlyn.
The regatta is due to conclude on Saturday with GB’s men’s and women’s Eights both racing in the final, trying to up the squad’s medal tally to five.
Northern Ireland’s Alan Campbell, a bronze medallist from London, was eliminated from Friday’s semi-final in the single sculls.
Both of the big boats are tipped for podium finishes on Saturday, with the men expected to fight it out for gold against Germany and Holland.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-3736213/Helen-Glover-Heather-Stanning-defend-Olympic-title-claim-gold-Team-GB.html#ixzz4H9zXjDPa
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