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Olympics news - Champion rower Helen Glover hints at Tokyo 2020 appearance

Olympic champion rower Glover hints at Tokyo 2020 appearance
By Sportsbeat

31/10/2018 at 16:52Updated 31/10/2018 at 16:54

Her priorities may have changed since becoming a mum for the first time, but Helen Glover admits her competitive instinct means she has not closed the door on Tokyo 2020 just yet.

The double Olympic gold medallist created history alongside Heather Stanning in the women's pair when they became the first female British rowers to defend their title at Rio 2016.

But the 32-year-old, who is married to TV star Steve Backshall, has since put her glittering career on hold as she gets to grips with a new challenge after giving birth to her son, Logan, in July.

Helen Glover (L) and Heather Stanning (R) pose for a selfie during the Olympics & Paralympics Team GB - Rio 2016 Victory Parade at Trafalgar Square on October 18, 2016 in London, England.

Helen Glover (L) and Heather Stanning (R) pose for a selfie during the Olympics & Paralympics Team GB - Rio 2016 Victory Parade at Trafalgar Square on October 18, 2016 in London, England.Getty Images

And while Glover has not completely ruled out making a return at the next Olympics – or even targeting Paris 2024 – her only focus at the moment is enjoying the experience of motherhood.

"I'm still very much deciding about my plans going forward, there is definitely still a competitive instinct in me which still exists, but I'm happy with where I am now," she said.

"I always just said I was going to wait and see once I've had a family whether I wanted to either get straight back into sport or have another baby and then get back into sport. Sport will always be a part of my life, but I just have to decide at what level that's going to be.

" Tokyo 2020 is something I think about and now I'm training and feel quite fit, it's something I possibly could do but if it's something that I want to do right now – I'm less sure."

"Even the Olympics after is something I might look at attacking more, because if I was looking at 2020 I probably wouldn't want to attack it with the same mental focus as I know it would take as I want to enjoy Logan."

The three-time world champion documented her fitness regime throughout her pregnancy, often teaming up with her husband for joint workout sessions in the gym or on the water.

And while she has started training again, including running, swimming and climbing, Glover is still making the most of her time away from the intensity of elite level sport.

"I'm surprised by how much I'm enjoying being a mum," she said. "I absolutely love it and because it's so different to being an athlete I thought I might find life different, but I don't.

"I find life the same, but great. I've been really, really lucky that I've had a brilliant first three months, but it's hard and I have so much admiration for any mum. I just want to shout out the car window, ‘You're doing great', because I know how hard it is. It's amazing being a mum and it just makes me think that all mums are amazing.

"I tried to stay quite fit through my pregnancy and since having him, a lot of people talk about it as getting your body back, but I just look at it as my mental release. I don't care what my body looks like right now, that's not my priority and it shouldn't be, I don't think – and that's worked really well for me.

Helen Glover (GBR) of United Kingdom and Heather Stanning (GBR) of United Kingdom compete

Helen Glover (GBR) of United Kingdom and Heather Stanning (GBR) of United Kingdom competeReuters

"There's been a lot of talk about post-natal depression and benefits of exercise psychologically and that's what I really believe in, so looking at it that way it makes so much sense that I have to look after myself to look after my son."

Glover was speaking in her role as ambassador for the #SheRows campaign, a British Rowing initiative which aims to get 10,000 more women indoor rowing by 2021.

The campaign highlights the physical and mental benefits of indoor rowing for women who are returning to exercise after having a break due to family or life commitments.

It is something Glover knows plenty about – and she believes indoor rowing is the perfect workout for busy women who are looking to balance a healthy lifestyle.

"I got involved in the #SheRows campaign because it is a fantastic idea to get 10,000 women involved in indoor rowing by 2021," she said.

"I have always seen the value of exercise and sport, but to be able to have it in a really practical way – you always need it to be practical when you have a baby. It needs to be something that's time efficient and you don't have to travel too far to and you know it's going to be there at any gym, so you start looking at exercise differently.

"Your priorities shift from looking after yourself and being your own personal number one to having a vomiting, crying little person that is your new priority. Suddenly things shift, but in the best way possible. It's the most amazing thing and to be able to do training alongside it, I feel lucky any time I get to do exercise now."

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