Helen Glover (rower)

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Helen Glover
Helen Glover with 2012 Olypic Gold medal.jpg
Glover showing her gold medal from the 2012 Olympic Games
Personal information
Full name Helen Rachel Mary Glover
Nationality British
Born (1986-06-17) 17 June 1986 (age 28)
Truro, Cornwall, England, UK
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1]
Weight 70 kg (154.32 lb)[1]
Country  United Kingdom
Sport Rowing
Turned pro 2010
Partner Heather Stanning 2010-2012, 2014
Polly Swann 2013-2014
Coached by Paul Stannard 2008-10
Robin Williams 2010-2013, 2014
Paul Thompson 2014
Achievements and titles
World finals Champion (W2-) 2013, 2014
Olympic finals Champion (W2-) 2012
Highest world ranking World #2 female in 2014
Personal best(s) World record 6:50.61 at 2014 World Rowing Championships

Helen Glover MBE (born 17 June 1986) is a British professional rower and a member of the Great Britain Rowing Team.[1] As of August 2014 she is both the world and Olympic record holder, plus the reigning Olympic, World, World Cup and European champion in the women's coxless pairs, the first British rower to hold all six distinctions simultaneously. At the end of 2014 she was ranked #2 female rower in the world.

At the 2012 Olympic Games, in partnership with Heather Stanning, she set the Olympic record and won the gold medal in the women's coxless pairs, the first gold medal won by Team GB at the 2012 Games and the first Olympic gold medal for British women's rowing. At the 2013 World Rowing Championships in South Korea she became the world champion with her partner Polly Swann, with whom she also won the 2014 European Rowing Championships at Belgrade and thus became the first woman to hold the Olympic, World and European titles for the coxless pair. She retained her world title and set the world record time in partnership with Heather Stanning at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam.

She is the reigning women's champion of the BBC's Olympic Superstars.[2]

Early life[edit]


Glover was born in Truro hospital to Rachel (née Tucker) and Jimmy Glover, and grew up in Penzance in a competitive athletic family with older brother Benjamin (medical doctor), younger twin brother Nathan (political organiser) and younger sisters Ruth (nursery nurse) and Freya (medical student). Her father Jimmy is a retired school teacher (English) turned ice cream vendor - 'Jelbert's Ices' of Newlyn was started by Helen's great grandfather. Jimmy was an all-round sportsman who played tennis at Junior Wimbledon, played soccer for Penzance 'Magpies' FC and captained the Penzance Pirates rugby team. He captained the University of Oxford in both the 1960 Varsity Match and against South Africa; made 199 appearances for Bristol; played for 'Devon & Cornwall' against the 'All Blacks'; played for the Barbarians; played for the RAF in Cyprus; played for the Middle East Air Force XV; and captained Cornwall in the County Championship whilst winning 41 caps. Her great uncle Steve Jelbert played rugby for Newlyn RFC, while another great uncle Ben Jelbert played rugby for the Penzance Pirates as did her cousins, Martin and Stewart Tucker.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]


Educated at Heamoor Community Primary School and Humphry Davy School in Penzance,[12][13] Glover won a sports scholarship to Millfield School in Somerset from 2002-2004 due to her running and hockey prowess.[14] She participated in a variety of sports: as a junior she ran cross-country and middle distance track both for Cornwall and internationally for England, winning a junior international gold medal for England in cross-country running; she played tennis for Cornwall; she swam for Cornwall; she captained the Cornish hockey team; and by the age of 14 was part of the England Satellite Squad for Hockey. Her best UK athletic rankings were 23rd for 800 metres, 9th for 1500 metres and 18th for 3000 metres.[15][2][16][17][18][19][20]

Her former PE teacher, Kate Finch, said: "She always had this phenomenal all-round talent, totally committed and totally reliable. You knew if you had Helen in any team you were safe. She took part in everything. She excelled in hockey and cross country. Helen was so hard working and so coachable. If you asked her to do something, she would do it."[21]

Glover said "When I was at school I was quite strong-minded, I started up sports teams, I played in the boys’ football team. I wouldn’t let anyone tell me I couldn’t do anything,".[22]

At University of Wales Institute, Cardiff Glover studied Sport and Exercise Science, and then studied for a PGCE at the University College Plymouth St Mark & St John, in order to teach physical education to secondary school children.


In July 2008, between graduating from the University of Wales and starting at University College Plymouth, Glover, at her mother's suggestion, applied to the Sporting Giants scheme and was placed on GB Rowing Team's "Start" programme under coach Paul Stannard at Minerva Bath Rowing Club in Bath, Somerset. Thus, whilst attending University College in Plymouth, she transferred her 'teaching placement' to Oldfield School, Bath. After winning Olympic gold she confessed to having achieved the Sporting Giant criterium of 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) by standing on tiptoes while being measured - she is 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m).[1][23][7][24][25][26][27][28]

She was fourth at the British Indoor Rowing Championships on 26 October 2008.[29]


In 2009, she won the Bernard Churcher Trophy in the senior single scull at the Henley Women's Regatta.[30]


In February 2010 Glover gave up her teaching job and lived with no income while focussing exclusively on training for the national team selection trials. In March she rowed with the Reading University eight and finished third at the Women's Eights Head of the River Race.[31] In April she finished 5th at the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials, won a place on the team, gained Lottery funding and was paired with Heather Stanning in the women's coxless pairs.[7][32] In May at the World Rowing Cup in Bled they finished 9th, and in June they finished 5th at Munich, but were unable to race at Lucerne in July due to Glover's illness.

Robin Williams started coaching Glover and Stanning in July when they were ranked 16th and 17th in their event, and were also regarded as reserves for the women's eight. They improved so rapidly that by November they won a silver medal at the 2010 World Rowing Championships with a time of 7:20.24 at Lake Karapiro in New Zealand, finishing three seconds behind Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown of New Zealand.[1][33][34]


In 2011 Glover and Stanning won the coxless pair event at the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials at Eton-Dorney with a time of 7 minutes 15 seconds. They went on to win both the Munich and Lucerne World Rowing Cup regattas, beating the reigning world champions Haigh and Scown of New Zealand. Great Britain did not enter round 2 of the World Cup in Hamburg due to an E. coli outbreak in the area.[35]

Glover and Stanning finished second in the 2011 World Rowing Championships at Lake Bled, Slovenia, 0.1 seconds behind the winning New Zealand crew of Haigh and Scown.[1] Their coach Robin Williams described it as a gold medal performance without getting the gold medal.[33]

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning at Dorney Lake during the 2012 Olympic Games.


In 2012 Glover and Stanning again won the coxless pair event at the GB Rowing Team selection trials at Eton Dorney on 10–11 March, and went on to complete a clean sweep of all three events in the women's coxless pair of the World Rowing Cup. Winning gold at Belgrade Sava, Serbia in May; Lucerne Rotsee, Switzerland in May; and Munich Oberschleissheim, Germany in June.[36][37]

On 1 August 2012 Glover and Stanning won the gold medal in the women's coxless pairs at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Having already set a new Olympic record of 6 minutes 57.29 seconds in the heats, they finished the final ahead of Kate Hornsey and Sarah Tait of Australia, and Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown of New Zealand.[38][39][40] The architect of their victory, coach Robin Williams, had prepared them for the final by engaging them in the word game Boggle for 45 minutes before their final call.[34] This was Team GB's first gold medal of London 2012, and the first ever Olympic gold medal for British women's rowing.[38][39] As with other gold medal winners, Royal Mail issued a commemorative stamp showing their celebrations, plus painting a post box gold in her home town of Penzance.[41][42] Within a week of winning her medal she broke it and thus received a replacement.[43]

In December Glover became the women's champion of the BBC's Olympic Superstars 2012 after winning the 800 metre run in 2 mins 24 seconds, plus the swimming, cycling and gym rounds, - she also out-performed the men in both the swimming and gym rounds. The Daily Telegraph described her as the nicely-spoken pony-tailed epitome of the sporting Englishwoman.[2][19]


In April 2013 Glover won the women's single scull at the GB Rowing Team Trials held at the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake, Caversham, Berkshire.[44]

Teamed with Polly Swann in the women's coxless pair, Glover completed a second clean sweep of three victories at the World Rowing Cup, winning gold at Penrith Lakes, Australia in March; Eton Dorney, London in June; and Lucerne Rotsee in July. Glover said "I wanted Polly to know that she wasn’t just a Heather substitute, she wasn't just filling in. ... when Polly and I raced together for the first time and we were fast it was very exciting. I had to adapt. Polly can provide enormous power all the way down the course, but our final product was not a million miles from the way Heather and I raced."[37][44][45]

In July at the Henley Royal Regatta she teamed up with Polly Swann, Victoria Meyer-Laker and Frances Houghton to win the Princess Grace Challenge Cup for women's quadruple scull. Competing as Leander Club and Minerva Bath Rowing Club they completed the final course in 6 minutes 59 seconds.[46]

On 31 August, teamed with Polly Swann in the women's coxless pair, she became the world champion at the 2013 World Rowing Championships at Chungju in South Korea. They completed the final in 7 mins 22.82 secs, finishing ahead of Roxana Cogianu and Nicoleta Albu of Romania, and having overhauled the American boat which had led briefly in the early stages.[47][48]

In September 2013 she was the International Rowing Federation's Athlete of the Month and featured on its World Rowing site.[18] Sir David Tanner, British Rowing performance director, said Nuggets are individuals that you can't always programme. We may never find another Helen Glover who progresses so rapidly.[49]

In December 2013 Glover and Swann were voted as Team of the Year by the SportsSister organisation, additionally Glover won the 'Readers Choice' vote. Glover and Swann also received the Chairman's award from the Sports Journalists' Association (SJA).[50][51]


On 17 March 2014 Glover was part of the composite crew that won the Women's Eights Head of the River Race on the River Thames in London, setting a record time of 17:42.2 for the 4 1⁄4-mile (6.8 km) Championship Course from Mortlake to Putney. The crew comprised Heather Stanning - Army RC; Beth Rodford - Gloucester RC; Zoe Lee - Imperial College BC; Jessica Eddie - London RC; Helen Glover - Minerva-Bath RC; Olivia Carnegie-Brown - Oxford Brookes University BC; Tina Stiller - Tees RC; Caragh McMurtry - Reading University BC; cox Phelan Hill - Leander Club.[52]

On 19 April 2014 Glover and Heather Stanning, coached by Paul Thompson, won the women's pair at the British rowing trials at Caversham, they took seven minutes 56.08 seconds and finished 1.14 seconds ahead of Polly Swann and Jessica Eddie. Stanning said "It was brilliant to be back racing with Helen. It feels like old times, but at the same time it's so refreshing because we've both learnt new things while we've been apart."[53][54]

In May Stanning's training schedule was reduced in intensity, causing her to be replaced by Polly Swann for the European Rowing Championships at Ada Ciganlija, Belgrade on 30 May.[55] In their heat Swann and Glover set a new European best time of 7 minutes 9 seconds, and in the final on 1 June they lowered it to 7 minutes 3.62 seconds, finishing 5 seconds ahead of the reigning European champion Christina Grigoras and Laura Oprea of Romania. This made Glover the first British rower to hold the Olympic, World and European titles simultaneously.[56][57][58][59]

Teamed with Heather Stanning in the women's coxless pair, Glover won gold at the second and third rounds of the World Rowing Cup at Lac d'Aiguebelette in France in June and Lucerne Rotsee on 13 July, which also clinched the overall title despite TeamGB not entering the first event in Australia in March. At Aiguebelette they qualified directly for the final which they completed in 7 minutes 6.9 seconds, finishing two seconds ahead of the Americans Grace Luczak and Caroline Lind. At Lucerne they again qualified directly for the final which, despite Glover's illness, they completed in 7 minutes 12.99 seconds, finishing a length ahead of the New Zealand 2 crew of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler.[60][61][62][63][64][65]

On 30 September Glover, partnered by Heather Stanning, retained her world title at the 2014 World Rowing Championships held at the Bosbaan, Amsterdam. They won both their heat and the semi-final and set a new world record time of 6:50.61 in the final, breaking the 2002,[66][67] (or 1999 Wp) record by three seconds, the 6:53.80 set by the Romanians Georgeta Andrunache and Viorica Susanu at Lucerne, Switzerland. They defeated the silver medallists, Megan Kalmoe and Kerry Simmonds of the United States, by over two seconds. Glover said: "I knew we were ready but there was so much expectation, so winning is definitely a relief."[66][67][68]

At the British Rowing Championships on 18–19 October at Holme Pierrepont (Nottingham), Glover was part of the composite crew that won gold in both the women's fours sweep event and the quad sculls. Racing under the acronym LIMA, the crew comprised: Jessica Eddie - London RC; Zoe Lee - Imperial College BC; Helen Glover - Minerva-Bath RC; and Heather Stanning - Army RC.[69][70][71]

At the end of 2014 Glover was officially ranked #2 female rower in the world by World Rowing, behind Caroline Lind and ahead of Meghan Musnicki.[72][73]


On 14 February 2015, Glover recorded her first victory in the GB Rowing, single scull, open-weight assessment trial held on the River Witham at Boston, Lincolnshire. She completed the 5 kilometre course in 20 minutes 16 seconds, finishing 14 seconds clear of nearest rival Katherine Grainger. [74][75]

On 14 March 2015 Glover was part of the composite crew that won the Women's Eights Head of the River Race on the River Thames in London, setting a time of 18:58.6 for the 4 1⁄4-mile (6.8 km) Championship Course from Mortlake to Putney. The crew comprised: Heather Stanning - Army RC; Helen Glover - Minerva-Bath RC; Zoe Lee - Imperial College BC; Katherine Grainger - Marlow RC; Melanie Wilson - Imperial College BC; Caragh McMurtry - Southampton Coalporters ARC; Olivia Carnegie-Brown - Oxford Brookes University BC; Jessica Eddie - London RC; cox Phelan Hill - Leander Club.[76][77]


Glover was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to rowing, which she received from Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on 10 April 2013.[78][79]

In August 2012 her Olympic victory was commemorated by the Royal Mail which issued a commemorative postage stamp and painted a post box gold on Quay Street, Penzance.(50°06′58″N 5°31′52″W / 50.1161°N 5.5310°W / 50.1161; -5.5310 (Helen Glover, Penzance))[41][42]

On 26 June 2013 she was awarded a Blue Peter badge, and on 26 September 2014 she was also awarded a Blue Peter gold badge.[80][81]

In August 2013 fuchsia "Helen Glover" was awarded Certificate 8162 by the American Fuchsia Society. It was hybridized by W.E.Negus (Ernie) of Hayle Cornwall, and is described as a single flower containing a light violet corolla, a light rose tube and a yellowish white sepal redolent of Cornish ice cream.[82][83][84]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Helen Glover". Biographies. British Rowing. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c The Telegraph, 29 Dec 2012, Olympians Anthony Joshua and Helen Glover crowned champions of Superstars By David Thomas
  3. ^ Cornwall Community News. Waiting for the 28 carat gold fairy Helen?
  4. ^ Cornish Pirates, Wednesday 1 August 2012. Local Girl Helen Glover Wins Britain's First 2012 Gold
  5. ^ "Helen Glover and Heather Stanning profiles: Team GB's gold medal winners". The Guardian. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Cornwall Local News. 23 August 2012 Father pays tribute to Helen’s work ethic, by 'The Cornishman'
  7. ^ a b c Katherine Faulkner; Louise Eccles (1 August 2012). "The very middle-class supergirls: Former head girl at Zara's boarding school will be in Helmand by the New Year and the woman who four years ago had never held an oar". Daily Mail. Mail Online. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Bristol Rugby Club, Profile of Jimmy Glover
  9. ^ This is Cornwall, 16 Aug 2013, Father pays tribute to Helen's work ethic
  10. ^ St Ives Liberal Democrats News, September 2010, St Ives Liberal Democrats Pick Up Campaigning Award from Nick Clegg
  11. ^ The West Briton, 3 August 2012, Penzance Olympic gold medal winner Helen Glover thanks supporters. By C M Jacqui
  12. ^ Daily Telegraph, 11 June 2013, Helen Glover, Olympic gold rower: my school sport
  13. ^ "Olympic gold rower Helen Glover's 'phenomenal talent'". BBC. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Old Millfieldian Society, OM of the Year 2012, Profile of Helen Glover
  15. ^ "Helen Glover". London 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  16. ^ IK Sport. Profile of Helen Glover
  17. ^ Cornwall Athletic Club. Hall of Fame
  18. ^ a b International Rowing Federation. World Rowing - Athlete of the Month. Interview with Helen Glover
  19. ^ a b Power of 10 - Athletics database. Profile of Helen Glover - results and rankings
  20. ^ English Institute of Sport, Helen Glover: From Raw Talent to Serial Gold Medallist
  21. ^ BBC News, Cornwall. 1 August 2012. Olympic gold rower Helen Glover's 'phenomenal talent'
  22. ^ Daily Telegraph, 23 Oct 2012, Olympic gold medallist Helen Glover: Young girls face 'peer pressure' to drop out of sport. By Louisa Peacock
  23. ^ "Olympic rower Helen Glover returns to Oldfield School to open sports centre". Bath Chronicle. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  24. ^ Minerva Bath Rowing Club - Notes
  25. ^ University of Bath, 2012, Profile of Helen Glover
  26. ^ UK Sport - Sporting Giants - Overview
  27. ^ British Rowing - Start programme
  28. ^ BBC Radio Cornwall, August 2013, David White show. Interview with Helen Glover - part 1
  29. ^ British Indoor Rowing Championships - BIRC 2008
  30. ^ HWR - Henley Women's Regatta, Official results database - 2009 (PDF)
  31. ^ Women's Eights Head of the River Race, Official Results Archive. 2010 PDF
  32. ^ Boston.com The Boston Globe. 19 October 2012. For Olympic rowing champion Helen Glover, her golden season continues at the Head of the Charles Regatta
  33. ^ a b The Cambridge Student, Interview – Team GB rowing coach Robin Williams
  34. ^ a b Henley Standard 7 July 2014 Rowing coach with the golden touch
  35. ^ The Guardian, 8 June 2011, Britain pull out of Rowing World Cup in Hamburg over E coli fears
  36. ^ British Rowing. 4 April 2012. GB Rowing Team announces crews for first 2012 World Cup
  37. ^ a b World Rowing - FISA Rowing Database
  38. ^ a b "Brilliant Glover and Stanning claim gold for GB". ESPN. 1 August 2012. 
  39. ^ a b Barrett, Lawrence (1 August 2012). "Helen Glover & Heather Stanning enter Olympics history". BBC. 
  40. ^ BBC Sport. Olympic record for Helen Glover and Heather Stanning in rowing. By Lawrence Barretto
  41. ^ a b Birmingham Mail, 2 August 2012. Olympics 2012: Royal Mail unveils special stamps to celebrate GB gold medal winners
  42. ^ a b "Penzance post box painted gold for Olympian Helen Glover". BBC. 2 August 2012. 
  43. ^ Daily Telegraph. 23 October 2012 Olympic gold medallist Helen Glover: Young girls face 'peer pressure' to drop out of sport
  44. ^ a b British Rowing - Profile 2013
  45. ^ Sunday Times 29 September 2013, Sportswomen of the year - Pair of winners making waves by Andrew Longmore
  46. ^ Henley Royal Regatta, Official results, 2013
  47. ^ World Rowing. 2013 World Championships at Chungju, Korea
  48. ^ British Rowing. 31 August 2013. Gold for Glover-Swann, GB Rowing Team men's quad make history - Race reports
  49. ^ The Guardian. 30 August 2013. GB rowers' world championship form bodes well for Rio 2016 Olympics by James Raich
  50. ^ Sportsister
  51. ^ Sports Journalists Association
  52. ^ Women's Eights Head of the River Race, Official Results Archive. 2014 results
  53. ^ BBC, Sport - Rowing. 19 April 2014. Heather Stanning & Helen Glover reunite to win British rowing trials By Lawrence Barretto
  54. ^ British Rowing. 19 April 2014. Trio of Olympic Champions amongst six title winners at GB Rowing Team Trials
  55. ^ BBC Sport News, 14 May 2014, Heather Stanning backed for quick return despite European absence, By Lawrence Barretto
  56. ^ GB Rowing, 1 June 2014, European Championships - Men's four and women's pair stand out in Serbia
  57. ^ BBC Olympic Sports- Rowing. 1 June 2014 European Rowing Championships 2014: Great Britain win two golds
  58. ^ World Rowing.com, 1 June 2014. European Championships - A European Champs of Best Times
  59. ^ Bath Chronicle, 1 June 2014, World, Olympic and now European champion - rowing star Helen Glover wins another title with Polly Swann
  60. ^ BBC Sport. Rowing. 22 June 2014. Helen Glover & Heather Stanning win GB gold at Rowing World Cup
  61. ^ The Cornishman, 26 June 2014. Glover and Stanning win World Cup gold
  62. ^ Rowing One, 19 - 22 Jun 2014, 2014 World Rowing Cup II, Aiguebelette, FRA
  63. ^ Rowing One, 19 - 22 Jun 2014, 2014 World Rowing Cup II, Aiguebelette, FRA Women's coxless pairs results
  64. ^ Helen Glover and Heather Stanning lead Britain's medal charge at Lucerne World Cup regatta, by Rachel Quarrell, Lucerne
  65. ^ World Rowing. Rowing World Cup III - Lucerne 2014 - Results
  66. ^ a b World Rowing. 30 August 2014, Hot racing, World Best Times and new World Champions
  67. ^ a b BBC Sport - Rowing. 30 August 2014. World Rowing Championships: Glover & Stanning relieved to win. By Lawrence Barretto
  68. ^ World Rowing, Results database - 2014 World Championships
  69. ^ Daily Telegraph, 19 Oct 2014, Sport, Lima crew take quads gold as poor weather interrupts British Rowing Championships by Rachell Quarrell
  70. ^ The Cornishman, 19 October 2014, Rowing: Penzance's Helen Glover celebrates double joy at British Championships, by Nath Richards
  71. ^ British Rowing Championships, 2014 - Results
  72. ^ World Rowing, Athlete rankings, Top ten females
  73. ^ World Rowing - Formulae for World ranking points (PDF)
  74. ^ British Rowing, GB Rowing Team 3rd assessment, 14 February 2015 - Open-weight W1x 5K Water assessment
  75. ^ British Rowing, 14 February, Glover in eye-catching debut win at GB Rowing Team Winter Assessment
  76. ^ WEHORR Results - 2015
  77. ^ Women's Eights Head of the River Race (WEHORR) - 2015 Full results
  78. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60367. p. 25. 29 December 2012.
  79. ^ "2013 New Year's Honours". Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  80. ^ Twitter, Helen Glover announcing her being awarded a Blue Peter badge
  81. ^ Twitter - BBC - Gold Blue Peter badge
  82. ^ American Fuchsia Society. Database of registered hybrids.
  83. ^ Camborne-Redruth Fuchsia Society, News - June 2013, Another Winner from Ernie
  84. ^ Twitter. 15 August 2013. Picture of Fuchsia "Helen Glover" and Certificate from American Fuchsia Society

External links[edit]