Helen was one of the most prominent sporting stars to emerge from the 2012 Olympic Games, typifying the ideal that hard work breeds success. Alongside her rowing partner, Heather Stanning, Helen wrote herself into the British history books by not only winning Team GB’s first Gold of the Games but claiming British Rowing’s first ever female Gold Medal.
Born in Truro, Helen showed sporting promise from an early age competing internationally as a junior in cross country and training in the England Hockey Satellite Squad. After completing a degree in Sport and Exercise Science along with a PGCE Helen began teaching PE at a primary school in Bath. It wasn’t until after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing that Helen first stepped into a rowing boat. Inspired by the Olympics, she was determined to be part of the world’s greatest sporting event and was talent spotted through the Sporting Giants scheme. Gaining a place on the GB Rowing Team’s Start programme, Helen quickly progressed and won the senior single scull at Women’s Henley in 2008 and came 3rd in the Eight at the 2009 Head of the River regatta.
The pair announced themselves on the World stage in 2010, competing in the World Cup Series. At the 2010 World Rowing Championships from Lake Karapiro in New Zealand, Helen gave a breakthrough performance in the women’s pair to win a Silver Medal behind the reigning World Champion home crew. This fantastic achievement made Helen the first athlete on the Sporting Giants scheme to win a medal at a senior World Championships. The following year, alongside her partner Heather, Helen became British Champion in the pair before winning Gold in both the Munich and Lucerne World Cup regattas and another Silver Medal in the 2011 World Championships in Bled, Slovenia.
Helen entered the 2012 Olympics with an unbeaten record in the World Cup series, winning all three meets, and the hopes of a nation on her shoulders. The pair cruised through the heats and lined up for the final the favoured crew. With a spectacular demonstration of power and determination Helen and Heather pulled clear of the field and maintained their lead to the line, winning Team GB’s first Gold of the London Games and a first ever Olympic Gold Medal for British women’s rowing.
2012 then concluded in spectacular style for Helen as she was not only crowned the Superstars Champion for 2012 after convincingly sweeping aside all challengers, she also received an MBE after her Olympic success and shows no signs in slowing down.
In 2013 Helen re-affirmed her status as one of the best in the World as she proved even a change in partner wouldn’t affect her. While Heather honours Army commitments, Helen teamed up with Polly Swann and their partnership proved successful as they achieved a clean sweep of the World Cup series with Gold’s at Sydney, Eton Dorney and Lucerne. Furthering this, the successful pair went on to claim another Gold medal at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, finishing the season unbeaten as a team.
Never being one to settle, Helen is looking forward to defending her Olympic crown in Rio 2016 along with adding more medals to her ever-increasing haul.