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Helen Glover retired from rowing in 2016 to start her family – but is now set to push for another gold medal in one of sport's greatest ever comeback stories.
Winning at Tokyo 2020 would surely put Glover on a pedestal with the likes of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, with the difference being she gave birth to three children during her time away.
The 35-year-old two-time Olympic champion is bidding to become the first GB woman to win gold in three different games when she takes to the water for the coxless pair with Polly Swann.
Glover has said becoming the first mum to make a British Olympic rowing team is the "biggest achievement" of her career, which certainly means a lot because it's been an incredible successful one.
The Cornish star set the Olympic record and won gold with Heather Stanning in the women's coxless pairs at London 2012, then repeated the accomplishment four years later in Rio.
Helen Glover (left) and Heather Stanning won Great Britain's first gold medal of London 2012
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Glover retired from competition after the 2016 Olympics, then married a famous face a couple of months later.
The rowing champion met wildlife presenter Steve Backshall, who has presented Deadly 60 and The Really Wild Show on children's TV, during a Sport Relief event in 2014.
The following year they announced they were engaged from Namibia and then got married in September 2016 on a clifftop at Piskies Cove in West Cornwall.
It was lucky the spectacular wedding went ahead as shortly before, Steve accidentally dropped one of her gold medals onto concrete, leaving it with a massive dent that had to be fixed.
In March 2018, the couple announced they were taking on "the biggest adventure of our lives" by announcing Helen was pregnant with twins.
Tragically, she lost one of the babies during pregnancy, with brave Helen tweeting: "We've had the hard news that one baby hasn't made it but we are very excited and hopeful for the remaining baby to arrive this summer xx"
Helen gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in July 2018, naming him Logan James David Backshall.
Helen is married to wildlife TV presenter Steve Backshall
"Steve and I will are excited to welcome Baby Boy Backshall to the world," said Helen alongside an adorable photo showing the new dad's thumb stroking a tiny little foot.
"We promise to make it a great one for you little man."
Two years later, their family grew a lot bigger when Helen gave birth to twins, who they called 'The Boy and The Girl for a month before deciding on the names Kit Newlyn and Willow Bo.
After four years out of the sport, few would have predicted Helen would be bak competing at Tokyo.
Steve remembers seeing a "strange look in her eye" in his wife's eye when the new came that the Games were being suspended.
"She hadn't been in a boat, not with any exaggeration, since the Rio final, and I thought 'oh no, here we go'," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
An intense year-long training period followed with up to three sessions a day, often around the kids' naps, or on just "one or two hours' sleep".
Even partner Polly Swann didn't know whether Glover had been up all night looking after thew twins when she came to training, but said he determination was "unmatched".
Helen playing with her three children
(Image: Internet Unknown)
Glover admitted she had dreamt of the moment without believing it would ever actually happen.
"It was nice to train to that daydream," she admitted. "But the reality was very different -staying up with the twins, trying to fit in sessions here and there.
"To be here today I think is in some ways the biggest achievement of my career."
Glover, who is 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?'
“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.”
Helen will be taking part in Tokyo 2020
Glover is now hoping to emulate rowing hero Steve Redgrave by coming back to win Olympic gold.
“Before it was all about performances and that result at the Olympics,” said Glover.
“But getting on the team represents something to my children – two-year old Logan and twins Bo and Kit, who are one – to show them what commitment and passion looks like.
“I wanted to try, I knew I might fail. So today feels like much more of a moment than it ever has done from my other two Olympic Games.
“This is a moment I can celebrate and get really excited and optimistic about what is to come.”
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