News / Rio 2016 Olympics / Work by Donna Bowater

Rio won’t come close to London 2012, says gold medal rower Glover

Britain’s Olympic rowing heroes have completed a week-long recce mission to Rio de Janeiro — and admitted the 2016 Games will “never top London”.

The squad of 36 athletes trained close to the 2016 rowing venue in what was their first and only visit to Rio before the Olympics in two years’ time.

RECEPCAO_CONSULADO_0_81Helen Glover, who won Team GB’s first gold medal in 2012 alongside Heather Stanning, said Rio was “amazing” but added the experience could never come close to London 2012.

“I just feel like a wide-eyed kid and that’s not how I want to walk into the Olympic Games, so I feel like it’s good to get that dizziness done now,” she said at a reception hosted by the British Consulate at Rio’s Yacht Club.

“I do think that no matter what happens, nothing will beat gold in London. I couldn’t paint a more perfect picture. I don’t think Rio will even equal it in terms of how I feel about it.”

Glover, 28, an MBE said the success of the women’s rowing team had boosted the sport. “I get a lot of messages from people who say they started the sport because of the race,” she added.

“I get a buzz every time I hear that because I used to be a PE teacher and I taught girls and was constantly trying to keep them in sport, get them in sport and when you see one day change that, it’s really exciting.”

Katherine Copeland, who also won gold in the lightweight doubles in 2012, said the uptake of rowing had made the sport more competitive.

“I took a year off after London to go travelling and when I came back, I was quite taken aback by at how much the pool and the depth of women had grown,” Copeland, 23 and also an MBE, said. The rowing venue on Rio’s Lagoa in the gaze of Christ the Redeemer will be “iconic”, she added.

Sir David Tanner, British Rowing director of performance, said of Rio: “We definitely intend to win some medals. There’s a lot of work that we have to do between now and then. We will be looking forward to coming back to the Lagoa, which will be in a pristine state, I’m sure, in every possible way in August 2016. I think this has the potential to be the most beautiful, iconic venue in the world.”

Originally published by The Evening Standard

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