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UK Coaching Team
16
Rapport Building and Communicating

'Our Brilliant Coach Deserves a Medal’ – Helen Glover’s Road to Rio Paved with Gold

Coaches may never get to stand on the winners’ podium at major championships, but they are put on a pedestal by their athletes. In an interview with UK Coaching's Blake Richardson, Olympic rowing champion Helen Glover pays tribute to her coach Robin Williams, and claims that she and coxless pairs partner Heather Stanning would never have reached the position they are in today without his help

By fusing raw power with oar power, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning have blazed a golden trail at the pinnacle of their sport. The female equivalent of Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent, the dynamic double act have won every major accolade rowing has to offer.

Since bursting on to the international stage with a silver medal at the 2010 World Championships – a matter of months after winning a place on the Great Britain team – their unstoppable progress has seen them gobble up Olympic coxless pairs gold, three world titles and three European crowns, not to mention a multitude of World Cup golds.

They head to Rio for the defence of their Olympic title as World, Olympic and European record holders and last tasted defeat in 2011 – pipped to the line on that occasion by just 0.1 second! It is a winning streak Ed Moses would be immensely proud of.

When it comes to lauding famous female double acts, they may not command the same celebrity status as Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, but in sporting terms, only colleagues Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins – the reigning women’s double sculls Olympic champions – come close to matching their extraordinary exploits.

As far as Helen is concerned though, they are no dynamic duo. Tremendous trio would be a more appropriate description as there is, in actual fact, a third member of their crew – an unsung hero who does not fall under the glare of the media spotlight, who does not provide any extra propulsion power during races but who experiences every stroke as if he was sitting alongside them in the boat, and who is every bit as important to the synchrony and success of the team.

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UK Coaching Team