‘I never saw it as my reality. To have four years out is one thing, to have four years out and three children I would have never thought possible’ (Image: PA)
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Supermum Helen Glover aims to change the way women think forever by winning a third Olympic title.
One of the great comebacks in sport sees the rowing champion of London and Rio attempt a golden hat-trick in Tokyo.
No British female has won gold medals in three successive Games and Glover is attempting it after giving birth to three children in this Olympic cycle.
So remarkable is what she has in mind that she claims little more than a year ago she would have ‘done a Redgrave’ had anyone suggested it.
By that she refers to Sir Steve’s pronouncement after his fourth Olympic gold – prior to his fifth – that ‘if anyone sees me go near a boat you've got my permission to shoot me’.
Glover said: “Now I know why he said it, now it all makes sense.
Rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave
"Like Steve I never saw it as my reality. To have four years out is one thing, to have four years out and three children I would have never thought possible."
Glover, unbeaten in 51 races dating back more than a decade, says she always thought anything was possible – but drew the line at this.
“As soon as I had (first child) Logan that in my head put to bed any future chance of coming back," she explained. "But now I think 'why did I think that? Why was that my automatic assumption?'
Glover with her young 'post-Rio' family (Insta: @helenglovergb)
“Now I think ‘no, we need to be able to do that and for it not to be a full stop on your career’.
“I love to think the next person to do this will just know it’s possible. That’s such a huge part of the journey for me. I don’t care if nobody does it, but I feel nobody should feel like they can’t.”
With that mindset few would bet against the 35-year old emulating Redgrave by changing her mind and winning again – not least because of who she has in the boat with her.
Covid doctor Polly Swann takes to the water with Glover in the women’s coxless pairs starting tomorrow on Tokyo’s Sea Forest Waterway.
Swann, who stepped away from rowing at the height of the pandemic to save lives, believes their respective stories bring “magic dust” to their boat that none of their rivals can match.
“We have this freshness and excitement that comes from our stories and the reasons why we’re here,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to be racing that on the start line at an Olympic Games, that’s for sure.
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In Swann’s case that comes from four months working in a hospital last year in fairly grim circumstances.
“In hospital you’re dealing with life and death,” she said. “Helping a patient in the last days of life is devastating, a really difficult situation to be part of.
“Sitting on the start line is an intense amount of pressure but a totally different type of pressure.
“After what I’ve gone through, being here rowing with Helen is almost the fairy tale. It just needs the gold medal at the end.”