Highlight 1# of the decade: Team GB’s first gold at London 2012 Olympics for Glover and Stanning

Topping our highlights of the decade are Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, Olympic gold medallists in the women’s pair at London 2012


London 2012 was a sensational Games with GB’s top result ever in an Olympic Regatta. Four gold medals, two silvers, three bronzes and every single of the 13 crews reached the A finals – and all in front of record crowds at Eton Dorney.

It was also a massive Olympic Games for women’s rowing. Never before had a GB women’s crew won Olympic gold – but this time they won three: Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins in the double sculls, Sophie Hosking and Kat Copeland in the lightweight double sculls, and Helen Glover and Heather Stanning in the women’s pair.

Looking back on these amazing achievements in 2019, Anna Watkins said: “It felt like we made a step change that summer. All season the three boats were battling it out in pieces with staggered starts, on training camps, and they were such incredibly tough opposition to have.

“We got to the Games and found out why: the British women’s team was setting the standard for the Olympic Games. We changed the conversation – women’s rowing was front and centre. We worked for it of course, but also what amazing luck we had to do it at a home Games.”

But it all started at Eton Dorney on Wednesday 1 August, 2012 – here’s how Martin Cross reported the first Olympic gold.

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning opened Team GB’s gold medal count in the women’s pair at Eton Dorney today and with that victory wrote themselves into the history books as Britain’s first female Olympic gold medallists in the sport.

A nation’s collective breath was held. That’s how it felt at Eton-Dorney as the women’s pair of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning sat at the start of the Olympic final.

Helen was calling to me all the way down ‘give us more, give us more

Could this unassuming and likeable duo – a PE teacher and Army captain – spark a gold run for the “home team” across the sports?

A little tug of the racing suit, a glance from Glover in the bow seat down the course and they were off. And what a start. By 250m they had a length on the field, by 500 they had a 2.8 second lead over their potential nearest rivals, New Zealand. They just kept going and going.

Relive London 2012!

Read about all the incredible GB medals and performances from London 2012 here.

Nobody could catch them. Gold – a historic first for British women – at the Olympic Games. Silver to Australia and bronze to NZ.

Their win was also Team GB’s first of its home Games.

“I think I was slightly aware but it was not until we crossed the line that I realise just how big the expectations were,” said Glover.

“Hopefully it’ s a sign of things to come across Team GB. Let’s go for it, let’s make it our Games. I’d also like to think this will inspire more people to be active and enjoy sport.”

Gold – a historic first for British women – at the Olympic Games

Stanning added: “I couldn’t hear what Helen was saying, I couldn’t see the bubble line and all I could hear was the crowd cheering. It was such fantastic support.

“We’re delighted, it’s brilliant,” said Stanning. “Helen was calling to me all the way down ‘give us more, give us more’ but I could hardly hear her or see the bubble line at the finish. All I could hear was the crowd. They were fantastic.”

Glover said: “We were at halfway and I thought we’d better keep going as we were in the lead. It’s fantastic. I hope this can be an inspiration everywhere for people to do sport and for PE teachers, too.”

Read more of our highlights of the decade in our #1-#5 Summary and #6-#10 Summary

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