Three in a pair – the coach behind Team GB’s first gold medal

Eton Dorney was the scene of emotional celebrations on Wednesday as Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won a historic first women’s Olympic rowing gold for GB – also the first gold on the board for Team GB at London 2012.

Afterwards Glover was full of praise for coach Robin Williams, saying, “He’s part of our boat as much as we are. He won’t agree with this but there was no way we would have a gold medal around our neck without him.

“He doesn’t stop thinking about how he can help us. We couldn’t have asked for more from him and there’s no way we can thank him enough.”

Williams’ final instructions before the race were just to enjoy the experience.

He said: “The two girls were just so motivated to win the race – the fact that it’s the Olympics and the women’s gold just made it a hundred times better. I’m just incredibly proud of them.

“The pressure on them was absolutely huge. I tried to shield them a little bit but you can’t get away from the noise of the crowd.”

And the roar from the stands was deafening as the British pair produced an imperious display to cross the finish line ahead of Australia and New Zealand.

Williams said: “Those two girls are super special people. Even when it’s cold and raining, they turn up and they smile. They make my job so pleasurable. They’re the two best athletes I could wish for without a doubt.

“They let me hold the gold medal – they’re pretty heavy and quite big. It’s a great feeling as a coach. In 2000, my friend Martin McElroy was coaching the GB eight who won gold and here I am today. I can’t ask for more.”

Glover added: “I truly hope that this has a snowball effect. I’m sure we have some great results to come over the next few days. I worked as a PE teacher so I know how inspiring sport can be.”

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