HEROIC rowing pair Helen Glover and Heather Stanning predicted a Team GB medal landslide at Dorney Lake after bringing Great Britain’s five-day wait for gold to a glorious end yesterday.
The duo, who both only took up the sport four years ago, left Australia and New Zealand, who took silver and bronze respectively, trailing in their wake in a time of seven minutes, 27.13 seconds to become Britain’s first female Olympic rowing champions.
Their success was followed by a bronze for the British men’s eight, as veteran Greg Searle added to the gold he won at the Barcelona Games in 1992, and Glover tipped the hosts for more success on the Berkshire water in the coming days.
“We hope this is the start of things to come from the Great Britain team,” said the Penzance 26-year-old Glover, a keen runner and hockey player before being talent-spotted by UK Sport for a rowing programme.
“We kidded ourselves that there was no pressure. The last thing we said to each other was ‘it’s just for us, it’s just for us’, but it was for the whole of the team and the whole of the country.”
The men’s eight threatened to match their female team-mates but could not keep pace with favourites Germany beyond halfway and were pipped to silver by fast-finishing Canada.
Searle, now 40, came out of a 10-year retirement for another crack at gold and said: “I thought it could be it... I had an amazing rush of adrenaline and I thought it really could come true. My dream did not come completely true but it’s been fantastic the whole time, the years leading up to the Olympics.”