Helene Raynsford

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Helene Raynsford
Medal record
Representing  Great Britain
Paralympic rowing
Summer Paralympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing Women's single sculls

Helene Raynsford is a British rower who competed at the 2008 Summer Paralympics.

She trained at the Royal Ballet School before an injury ended her chances of becoming a professional dancer. At university Raynsford studied biochemistry but a head injury at the age of 21 left her needing the use of a wheelchair. Helene completed a degree at Royal Holloway and is now undertaking a masters in neuroscience. She has returned to Royal Holloway as a guest speaker.

[1] Before taking up rowing Helene was a member of the Great Britain wheelchair basketball team from 2003 until 2006 and won two Paralympic Cup silver medals in the sport.[2]


Raynsford took up rowing after visiting Dorney Lake in 2005 and competed in the national championships that year. In May 2006 she posted a qualifying time that earnt her entry to the World Championships but her preparations were disrupted by a car accident that left her ribs and stomach badly bruised. Despite this she went on to win her heat and then the final to become world champion in the arms-only single sculls. At the 2007 World Championships she suffered an asthma attack on the first day of the competition and finished fifth in the final. This qualified her for the 2008 Paralympics.[1]

At the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, rowing made its debut appearance at the Games. Raynsford became the first ever Paralympic champion in the sport, winning the women's single sculls by a 12-second margin in a time of 6 minutes 12.93 seconds.[3]

In April 2010 Raynsford announced her retirement from rowing due to a cardiac problem.[4] Following a change in her drug regime and surgery she returned to the sport and after winning the British trials was named to the British team for the 2010 World Championships in New Zealand.[5]

Raynsford was appointed to UK Anti-Doping's newly formed Athlete's Committee along with Paralympic swimmer Graham Edmunds, football player Clarke Carlisle and former England rugby union captain, Martin Corry.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b Kidd, Patrick (3 March 2008). "Beijing dream burns bright for Helene Raynsford". The Times. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "Helene Raynsford". Times Online. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2011. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Britons in historic rowing double". BBC Sport. 11 September 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Paralympic champion rower Helene Raynsford retires". BBC Sport. 9 April 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Quarrell, Rachel (21 September 2010). "Great Britain rowing champion Helene Raynsford comes out of retirement". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Paralympians appointed to Athlete Committee for UKAD". British Paralympic Association. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  7. ^ "UK Anti-Doping’s newly formed Athlete Committee provides advice on all matters of anti-doping". UKAD. Retrieved 23 April 2011.