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Posts Tagged ‘Gold Medal’

Interview: Olympian Helen Glover

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Hi All,

We were honoured to do a short interview with Olympic Gold Medallist Rower Helen Glover, at the launch of the new Nissan Note.  Here is what she had to say to us!

Helen Glover

Hi Helen, congratulations on winning another gold at the World Championships! Can you start off by telling us how you got into Rowing?

Thank you very much. It was by chance really. When I left University I was about to take up a teacher training course but my mum saw a Sporting Giant advert in the paper, she called me up and said “why don’t you apply?” The only criteria set was that you had to be over 5ft10, even though I was 5ft9 ∏ I applied and it was a talent scheme looking for tall people to be directed into three sports which were handball, rowing and volleyball. The first stage was the paper application, and the second stage was where they measured you, tested your fitness and your potential to gain fitness. From that, 30 boys and 30 girls got asked to start rowing and 2008 was the first time I sat in a boat and picked up an oar all because I had applied through this scheme. I watched the Beijing Olympics when I had just started rowing and it made me realise what I had let myself in for and what a big task it was. The reason I started rowing was to win Gold in 2012, it wasn’t for fitness or recreational purposes, it was to win.

 

Wow, the Sporting Giant scheme sounds really good, how quick was your progress when you started rowing?

Quite quick really, having already competed in cross country running alongside playing netball and hockey  I was already co-ordinated and quite fit. The first year was a little frustrating and a little slower than I wanted because I was teaching at the same time, which killed me as I was getting up so early and going to bed so late trying to fit everything in. I won my first World Championship medal two and a half years after I started rowing which is very quick. I won Silver in New Zealand and I got onto the senior team two years after I started rowing which in perspective is really quick. So whilst I was teaching it was slow, but as soon as I got a bit of funding, it all accelerated quickly.

 

And how did winning Olympic gold compare to winning World Championship gold?

I feel like the World Championship Gold is something that has been a long time coming and it’s quite strange to become Olympic Champion before World Champion because there are World Championships every year. Whereas the Olympic Gold had huge pressure, excitement and buzz in the UK, the World Championships felt a lot more personal, and I was more determined to get it as it solidifies my position as Olympic Champion. It shows I can back up an Olympic performance and to become World Champion at the same time as an Olympic Champion is something that I feel really proud of.

 

Sounds like an amazing experience! So, moving onto your training regime, how often do you train?

In a training week we have 2-3 sessions every day. In the winter it’s based on mileage and getting our strength, and in the summer it’s about getting our power levels up.

 

And what does a typical session look like?

In the winter we’ll start with an hour and forty minute continuous row in the racing boat for about 24km. The second session will be on the rowing machine and we’ll row about 18km, slow and steady, more endurance based than anything. We’ll finish the day with a weight session, which we do about four times a week in the gym to gain strength and body mass. We do 6 hours a day of physical training, including warming up, cooling down and physio. Our days last from 7.30am till about 5.00pm.

 

What’s your least favourite exercise?

I don’t really like the rowing machine purely because of the monotony of it. It always hurts, whereas on the water you have your technique to work on together with a crew mate. On the machine, you’re pushing yourself as hard as you can and the only reward you’re getting is a number on a screen.

 

What your most favourite workout/exercise and why?

Love to run, but I don’t do much of it now that I’m rowing but every time I run my body seems to think I’m a runner again. I want to keep a certain body mass as I’m a little bit small and every time I run I lose body mass but I love to go home, go out to the sand dunes, stick my earphones in and just run. As a group, I enjoy working in the weight room as you can push each other and help each other lift.

 

And lastly, what do you do with your time away from rowing?

I don’t get a lot of time. When I do get time, I go back home to Cornwall twice a year where I like to Kayak and Surf and do all the outdoor activities I used to do when growing up. When I was growing up I used to run and swim so I just try and do as much sport as I can when I’m home.