Female British Gold Medalists – Heather Stanning

Following on from yesterdays profile on Helen Glover, today’s will be on her team mate, Heather Stanning.

For most Olympians, taking part in this summer’s Games is by far the most daunting challenge they are likely to face all year. For Heather Stanning, however, this is not necessarily true. A captain in the Royal Artillery, she was temporarily released from duties to train full-time but could potentially be sent to Afghanistan this autumn.

Stanning, 27, was born in Yeovil but raised in Lossiemouth in Scotland and educated at Bath University, where she graduated in sports technology. She started rowing seriously in 2006 when she joined the Team GB Start programme. Since then she has gone from strength to strength, proving her early talent by winning the women’s pair competition at the 2007 world under-23 championships and in 2008 coming first in the Remenham Challenge Cup at the Henley royal regatta. She was commissioned from Sandhurst college into the Royal Artillery in August of the same year.

But it was only once she was paired with Helen Glover that things started to take off in a big way. The duo made a name for themselves in 2010 with strong performances in the World Cup Series and a heroic silver at the world championships – and since then have never looked back.

Once the Games are done in September, Stanning has said that she will go back to her work in the Royal Artillery barracks at Larkhill. Her military experience helps her put the sport into perspective, she says. “The army training has given me determination and toughness,” she told the Sun. “A year at Sandhurst – you don’t just float through that. It has shaped me as a person and helped me to get where I am. Training for the army has given me perspective – in that what I’m doing now isn’t the be all and end all. Although rowing is important for me at the moment, I have a bigger picture to look at.”

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