29 July 2021

Helen Glover insists this time it’s definitely the end of her Olympic career

29 July 2021

Helen Glover ruled out another rowing return after an agonising fourth place at the Tokyo Olympics

The defending women’s pair champion finished just outside the medals with Polly Swann as New Zealand took the title ahead of the Russian Olympic Committee and Canada.

Glover, who won in 2012 and 2016, only returned to training in March 2020 following four years away after starting a family and insisted she does not expect to make another comeback with Team GB.

She said: “Well do you know what, in Rio I said it was my last one. This time I’m saying that it definitely is and everyone around me keeps saying ‘No, no, you’ll be back doing the single!’

“I definitely don’t see myself doing the single. That’s definitely not in the pipeline. I never think beyond the finish line so for me I’m just looking forward to getting home and having some downtime.”

Glover, who had son Logan with TV presenter Steve Backshall in 2019 and twins Kit and Willow in January 2020, believes her and Swann have completed something special.

She said: “For both of us this has felt more like a journey than anything we’ve done. We even look to the route of getting to the start line and how many crews fall to the wayside.

“You can never say that a place in the final isn’t exciting.

Glover and Swann dropped out of the top three with 700m to go. (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

“The last year for both of us is one we’re going to look back and I think when you’re caught up in the moment of it and the day-to-day grind of only having one year, it feels so immediate.

“I’ll come to look back in a few years and think, ‘how did I do that?’ ‘What was that year about?’

“Everyone will remember the year of the pandemic for their own reasons and I will think that was the thing that took me to another Olympics and that’s bonkers.

“Whether they (her children) remember it or not they were there from the very first strokes of this journey and in my mind to the very last strokes.”

Swann was working at St John’s Hospital, Livingston, during the pandemic fightback last year and believes their story is unique.

“For Helen, she was looking after three kids. For me I was working in a hospital a year ago today,” she said after the duo finished in six minutes 54.96 seconds, 4.77secs behind the gold medallists. “I don’t think there’s many people in the Olympic athlete set-up that can say these things and be in a final.

“We certainly fought our all to try to get on to that podium. I can’t fault our determination for that and more. We got in the boat together and every day since then has been pushing each other to the limit.”

There was heartbreak for Imogen Grant and Emily Craig as they finished fourth in the women’s lightweight double sculls final.

They were beaten to bronze by Holland by just 0.01 of a second as Italy and France claimed gold and silver.

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