Heather Stanning and Helen Glover Clare Balding Meets


Heather Stanning and Helen Glover

Clare meets with Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, who created history by winning team GB's first gold at London 2012, to learn how confident they are of winning another gold.


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Transcript


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It's not long now until the Olympic Games,

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once again, take the world by storm,

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so I have been taking the opportunity to catch up

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with some of Britain's leading gold medal hopes.

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And I'm here today at the National Centre of sporting excellence

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at Bisham Abbey to meet a pair who, together,

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combine to be one of the most dominant forces in world sport.

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Helen Glover and Heather Stanning created history when they won

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Team GB's first gold medal in the coxless pairs

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at the 2012 London Games.

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The long-term rowing partners have blitzed their opponents,

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remaining unbeaten since 2011,

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during which time they've set a new world record and collected

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gold medals at the European and World Championships.

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With such fine form, they are red-hot favourites to defend

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their title in Rio and cement their status as Olympic legends.

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I want to find out why their partnership is so effective...

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I think two Heathers in the boat would be

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a very quiet boat and two Helens in the boat would be a lot of

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information a lot of the time and never having time to digest it.

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How Helen's friends reacted when they learnt

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she'd won an Olympic gold.

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I got quite a few messages after the Olympics saying,

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"I didn't even know you rowed.

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"I've just seen you win the Olympics."

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..and discover if they can defend their Olympic title.

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There are New Zealand and there's America

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and there are three of us all aiming for that top spot.

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And, you know, we want to be the ones to take it

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and there's no reason we wouldn't be the ones,

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but it's going to be tough.

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So, are you a strictly professional partnership

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-or are you actually friends as well?

-We're friends as well.

-Yeah.

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I'd say we're almost friends first, in a way, aren't we?

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I think that we do get on really well outside the boat,

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but, ultimately, we know that we're together because of the project

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that we're in.

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-It's got to help.

-Yeah.

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It makes it a lot easier when it's tough, like,

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when the training's tough

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and it's not going well for one reason or another.

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Or you're just finding it difficult individually,

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it's nice to know that you're in a boat with someone you get on

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with really well, you really respect.

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And it just makes it so much easier.

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You know, I'm working hard, I'm going through this for a reason

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and it's with Helen and it's, yeah, it just makes it so much better.

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And switch off time's important as well, so what do you do,

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what do you talk about when you're not training?

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It ranges from anything to do with...

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Rubbish, we just chat rubbish.

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I think if you could hear our conversations we have on

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training camp, it's...

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Last year, you tried to teach me bird noises, didn't you?

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-Yeah.

-That'll be the Steve Backshall influence.

-I know.

-Yeah.

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You're not supposed to tell people this, Heather.

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-But I was so bad at it you gave up.

-Yeah, I know.

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What sort of bird noises?

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-Just, I have an app...

-CLARE LAUGHS

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..which is also a game where you learn bird noises

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-and you've got to guess the bird.

-Chaffinch is good.

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The willow warbler is a personal favourite.

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-How does the willow warbler go?

-I don't know if I can do it.

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It's just like a...du-du-du-du-du-du.

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I think that was one of the only ones I could get,

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-because of the warbling.

-You didn't get any of them.

-OK.

0:43:160:43:18

So, you're clearly trying to educate yourselves.

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Yeah, we're into quite similar things.

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Actually, we often keep an eye on lots of other sports as well.

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You know, when the rugby's on, we'll always kind of

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keep up-to-date with that and especially the other Olympic sports.

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We're always really interested in who's qualified, especially in

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the last few weeks when we've been looking to qualification and

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we've been seeing other teams and their qualification systems.

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And now we can recognise names that were in London with us

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and seeing who out of them have qualified and things like that,

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we find that really interesting.

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Now, be honest about each other, cos, actually,

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it's easier than being honest about yourself sometimes.

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Heather, how would you describe Helen?

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Helen is incredibly competitive but actually very laid-back as well

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and extremely determined.

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She knows what she wants and she'll work incredibly hard to get it.

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-Is she tidy?

-No.

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That is one thing Helen is not.

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And, Helen, how would you describe Heather?

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Tidy.

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Organised. She's...yeah...she's very...

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She's got a quiet determination,

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she knows what she wants and she will kind of

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quietly go out to get it.

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But I think she's also very dependable, but equally,

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you know, a little bit like what Helen said about me,

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all those things aside, she's also very laid-back

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and quite chilled out as well.

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Do you think you bring out the best in each other?

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I think we've both got quite different personalities in training

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to out of it, so, I think, outside of training we're both

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-probably quite similar...

-Yeah.

-..and then as soon as we step onto

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-the training environment, we sort of polarise.

-Because...?

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You're more vocal in what you want, what you feel and I'm a bit

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more quiet about it and I'll just kind of...

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Internally, I know what I want, but I'm not very good

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at expressing it, and so I'll just quietly get on and work hard...

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I'm happy to receive lots of information,

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I'll sit here and be told lots of stuff,

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but I won't necessarily give much away.

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I think two Heathers in the boat would be a very quiet boat

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and those things that need to be said would possibly get said

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a few months later down the line

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and two Helens in the boat would be a lot of information

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a lot of the time and never having time to digest it.

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-So, I think that we bring the best out in each other.

-Yeah.

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Because I learn from Heather that there are times

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where it's good to be quiet and to digest what's going on

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and to really take stock of situations

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and then Heather, I think, gets from me a sense of urgency

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about the here and now and making the best of the day we're in.

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And I think that that bounces off each other really well.

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How did you both get started in rowing,

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was it something you did at school?

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No. I picked it up at university,

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University of Bath. And you were even later than that, weren't you?

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Yeah, so I'd finished university and I started my teacher training

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when my mum called me up and said there was an advert in the paper -

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it was four years or about five years before the London Olympics.

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They were looking for fresh people to go into different sports

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and hopefully win medals.

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And the only criteria was that you needed to be over a certain height.

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-What was the height?

-The height was 5'11".

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And once I turned up, they told me I was only 5'9".

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So I stood on my tiptoes and met Paul Stannard, who was the coach.

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He looked at my background and he thought I'd be suitable for rowing.

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It's an amazing thing, do you ever sort of look at each other and go,

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"We're Olympic champions"?

0:46:290:46:31

-See, we don't...

-No.

-..and I think that's probably because

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we've carried on. I think...

0:46:340:46:36

I always haven't... I haven't had that grounding moment of having

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that total realisation of being an Olympic champion.

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It took me a long, long time after winning in London

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to even say that I won the Olympics.

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-It really took six months or so to kind of have that feeling.

-Yeah.

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You're right, it might not happen until you've retired.

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-I don't think it will.

-I think, yeah.

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There was certainly a period during the games,

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afterwards when we had the medals, like, "This is really exciting."

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And the whole euphoria of the games. But afterwards, you're working to

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do that again, so you don't sit back and go,

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"I'm an Olympic champion, I've done this all before."

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You're like, "What do I need to do to win that Olympic gold?"

0:47:080:47:10

The weird thing is, am I right in thinking, Helen,

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that you didn't tell your friends

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that you were rowing at the Olympics?

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I think for some people...

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I got quite a few messages after the Olympics saying,

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"I didn't even know you rowed.

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"I've just seen you win the Olympics."

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Because I just think it's always good to do things quietly.

0:47:250:47:28

I just think if you can do something quietly, do it quietly.

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And it's always much nicer for people to find out

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of their own accord, I think.

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Quite a surprise that would be.

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Whereas, Heather, you didn't have the luxury of not telling

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a lot of people, because you had to take time out from the army

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-and therefore everybody knew?

-Yeah, pretty much.

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Yeah, they didn't give you that much time after the Olympics

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to rest on your laurels, cos you were sent to Afghanistan?

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I didn't go for about six months and then, yeah,

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I did a six-month tour, came back and got back into a rowing boat.

0:47:530:47:56

Was there a rowing machine at all in Afghanistan? Could you...?

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Yeah, I mean, I was working a full-time job,

0:48:000:48:02

training was very much a second thing.

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So if, at the end of the day, I felt too tired to do it,

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I would just go to bed, rest, get up the next day and start again.

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And, you know, it's one thing being in that situation,

0:48:100:48:13

and you know what is expected of you and you know exactly what's

0:48:130:48:17

around you and you trust the people you're with.

0:48:170:48:19

Being at home and your best friend, basically, the person you've

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won a gold medal with at the Olympics is on tour in Afghanistan.

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How are you keeping in touch and were you concerned?

0:48:260:48:29

Whenever somebody you know goes away to Afghanistan, I think,

0:48:290:48:32

there's obviously going to be a sense of, not worry,

0:48:320:48:36

but just, obviously, hoping, wishing them the best

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and hoping that they're OK.

0:48:380:48:40

Um, but we kept in touch a little bit.

0:48:400:48:42

You gave me a phone call on my birthday and there were e-mails

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and things like that.

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So, I was actually surprised at how easy it was

0:48:460:48:48

to kind of stay in touch.

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But equally, I was definitely very focused on my task of rowing

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while I was staying at home as well. So, it definitely, kind of...

0:48:530:48:56

It wasn't like things were on pause and I was waiting.

0:48:560:48:59

I was definitely making sure things were moving on.

0:48:590:49:01

And it's probably given you good training, given that you're going

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to marry Steve Backshall and he's away wrestling crocodiles,

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and, you know, cosying up to lions.

0:49:070:49:09

You have to get used to some sort of threat to that.

0:49:090:49:12

"Oh, I can deal with this."

0:49:120:49:15

When is the big day?

0:49:150:49:16

It's about three weeks after we finish, so in September, yeah.

0:49:160:49:19

-So, have you done all the planning?

-My mum's done all the planning.

0:49:190:49:21

-Helen's been heavily involved... Not.

-She even chose the dress?

0:49:210:49:25

I'm just going to turn up and see what it's like.

0:49:250:49:27

-Did she taste the cake?

-I have chosen the dress.

0:49:270:49:29

-She chose the dress...

-Yeah.

-..that's all you've done.

0:49:290:49:31

-Got the dress, got your shoes.

-You might be a different shape then.

0:49:310:49:35

I hope I'll be a different shape, I think...in the three weeks...

0:49:350:49:38

I did say to the dress people in the dress shop,

0:49:380:49:40

"Don't worry, "I'll be a little bit smaller by the time..."

0:49:400:49:42

And they were like, "Really?!"

0:49:420:49:44

So, I hope I fit in my dress, basically,

0:49:440:49:46

when the time comes round.

0:49:460:49:48

Have you got a role to play? Yeah, yeah, I'm a bridesmaid.

0:49:480:49:52

What sort of bridesmaids' outfits has she chosen?

0:49:520:49:54

They're nice, I haven't tried it on...

0:49:540:49:56

I really wanted to kind of buy a, like, hideous dress.

0:49:560:49:58

Puffball, exactly, going for the peach...

0:49:580:50:01

-Yeah, exactly.

-No, they're really nice.

0:50:010:50:03

-Nice colour.

-It'll be fantastic. It's a great... Are you excited?

0:50:030:50:06

Yeah, it'll be a lot of fun and I've got loads of the rowing girls

0:50:060:50:09

-coming down to Cornwall for it. So...

-Oh, it's in Cornwall, is it?

0:50:090:50:11

It's just outside a beach where I grew up, loads of family,

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loads of friends and it's going to be a good party, yeah.

0:50:150:50:19

What was the proposal like?

0:50:190:50:21

Oh, it was like the most romantic proposal ever.

0:50:210:50:23

-Was it?

-Yeah, yeah.

0:50:230:50:24

We went, after the World Championships last year,

0:50:240:50:27

we went to Namibia.

0:50:270:50:29

And we were out in a desert sunset

0:50:290:50:33

and he set up his camera on a little tripod

0:50:330:50:35

to take photos of the sunset.

0:50:350:50:37

And as we were stood there in front of it,

0:50:370:50:39

he turned round and got down on one knee.

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He didn't know my ring size because I never wear jewellery.

0:50:430:50:46

And he had, from Cornwall, he'd got a ring carved with a Cornish word,

0:50:460:50:51

and proposed to me then.

0:50:510:50:53

And then we walked around the corner and there was a table set up

0:50:530:50:56

for champagne and stuff. So yeah, it was very romantic.

0:50:560:51:00

-It's lucky you said yes.

-I know.

-Can you imagine?

0:51:000:51:02

That would have been so awkward.

0:51:020:51:04

"Not now, I'm concentrating on the Olympics.

0:51:040:51:06

"Oh, you've got dinner and champagne."

0:51:060:51:08

-Pick a better thing.

-"Oh, a lovely wooden ring(!)"

0:51:080:51:10

THEY LAUGH

0:51:100:51:12

The coxless pair of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning

0:51:120:51:15

created history by winning Team GB's first gold of London 2012.

0:51:150:51:20

As well as a first-ever gold for a GB women's boat at an Olympic Games.

0:51:200:51:25

A further three world titles and a European title during an

0:51:250:51:28

unbeaten run stretching back to 2011

0:51:280:51:31

cement their status as rowing greats.

0:51:310:51:34

They are putting their bodies on the line in pursuit of

0:51:340:51:37

a second consecutive Olympic title and I want to learn about their

0:51:370:51:41

killer training regime.

0:51:410:51:43

Let's talk about training and the hours that you do and what you do.

0:51:430:51:47

What's a typical day?

0:51:470:51:49

A typical day - we probably do three to six hours

0:51:490:51:51

of actual physical training a day.

0:51:510:51:53

And that's six days a week.

0:51:530:51:55

Every week, bar three weeks a year.

0:51:550:51:58

And the training will be anything from

0:51:580:52:00

on the water in a boat together

0:52:000:52:02

or in singles during the winter.

0:52:020:52:04

On the rowing machines in the gym,

0:52:040:52:06

then strength and conditioning training as well in the gym.

0:52:060:52:09

Do you like it? Cos some people do, they love training.

0:52:090:52:11

You know, we're lucky to do it.

0:52:110:52:13

And so there are definitely moments where we're kind of out on

0:52:130:52:15

the water or we're sat on a rowing machine or lifting in the gym,

0:52:150:52:18

and you think, "Wow, I can't believe I'm doing this.

0:52:180:52:22

"I can't believe this is me

0:52:220:52:23

"and I get another opportunity to go to another Olympics.

0:52:230:52:26

"This is just beyond my wildest dreams, really."

0:52:260:52:29

Is there anything about training that you just dread?

0:52:290:52:32

-Yeah.

-THEY LAUGH

0:52:320:52:34

I'll be honest.

0:52:340:52:35

For me, I think the rowing machine, probably for most people the

0:52:350:52:38

rowing machine is something that people don't really look forward to.

0:52:380:52:41

When you get out on the water, even if it's a tough session,

0:52:410:52:43

you feel like, you're outside, you're out on the water.

0:52:430:52:46

I think on the rowing machine,

0:52:460:52:47

it just feels like you're hurting yourself. And going nowhere.

0:52:470:52:50

But they're crucial sessions. I'd never take them out of the

0:52:500:52:53

programme. But you definitely don't look forward to them.

0:52:530:52:55

You need loud music,

0:52:550:52:56

or to put them in a really good place with a really nice view.

0:52:560:52:59

-We've tried everything, Clare.

-Yeah, I'm sure.

0:52:590:53:01

To be fair, you have been doing this.

0:53:010:53:03

-We tried the music.

-Tried watching other rowing videos?

0:53:030:53:07

Yeah. It does work. The views do work. But it still hurts.

0:53:070:53:11

You could watch Beyonce in concert on a massive screen.

0:53:110:53:13

-That is something we haven't tried. Maybe we should.

-Keep up with her.

0:53:130:53:16

That would be good. Fuel is very important for you

0:53:160:53:19

if you're expending that many calories. If you're working as

0:53:190:53:22

hard as you are, you need to be eating a lot, I assume?

0:53:220:53:25

What do you eat? What are your...daily intake of calories?

0:53:250:53:29

-It can be about 4,000 to 5,000 calories, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:53:290:53:33

4,500, 5,000 calories.

0:53:330:53:35

I think I was up to about 5,500 this winter.

0:53:350:53:37

-Just cos of the extra mileage that we were doing and stuff.

-Yeah.

0:53:370:53:41

We try to be pretty healthy. So you'd have four main meals a day.

0:53:410:53:45

You'd have breakfast, second breakfast, lunch and dinner.

0:53:450:53:48

And that's kind of what you'd normally expect.

0:53:480:53:51

So a lunch would be a big lunch for a normal person,

0:53:510:53:53

but the difference is, I think, what we supplement between those.

0:53:530:53:56

So the second breakfast will be, you know, poached eggs, toast and beans.

0:53:560:54:01

Before bed you might have cereal or a protein shake.

0:54:010:54:04

Something in the afternoon as well.

0:54:040:54:06

Yeah, in the afternoon you'll have toast and...

0:54:060:54:08

Do you sometimes think, "No, I don't want to eat any more"?

0:54:080:54:10

Yeah, definitely.

0:54:100:54:12

I think there are time, especially in the winter when you're

0:54:120:54:14

trying to get that many calories in, it is quite tough to do that.

0:54:140:54:17

But you'll always feel it the next day or you'll get a cold,

0:54:170:54:21

or something will happen to your immune system if you haven't

0:54:210:54:23

-eaten the right amount.

-Oh, really? What? It's that quick an effect?

0:54:230:54:26

-Yeah.

-I think, yeah, you definitely feel run down and you just know

0:54:260:54:30

it's cos you were under-fuelled.

0:54:300:54:32

You're incredibly dominant.

0:54:320:54:34

You've been unbeaten, as we know, since 2011.

0:54:340:54:37

Together you seem unbeatable.

0:54:370:54:39

How do you keep yourselves motivated to know that that may not last?

0:54:390:54:44

And also, where is the room for improvement, if any?

0:54:440:54:48

I definitely think this feeling of dominance and unbeatability

0:54:480:54:51

is not something that we feel ourselves.

0:54:510:54:54

We feel quite vulnerable, I think that fear of failure and that

0:54:540:54:58

healthy paranoia pushes us on quite a lot.

0:54:580:55:00

However, having said that, when we get to the start line,

0:55:000:55:03

and especially the lead-up to the race,

0:55:030:55:05

that vulnerability does disappear.

0:55:050:55:07

I think it's important to maybe feel vulnerable during training

0:55:070:55:10

-and strong during racing.

-Yeah.

-So when we get to the racing,

0:55:100:55:12

we feel like there's no reason somebody should beat us.

0:55:120:55:15

There's no logical explanation for us to lose a race

0:55:150:55:18

if we've been winning all this time and doing the right thing.

0:55:180:55:22

I think that's something that we... We always train like underdogs

0:55:220:55:25

and try to arrive at competitions like champions.

0:55:250:55:30

Yeah, as well, Robin is really good at making sure we

0:55:300:55:33

feel like there's always room for improvement.

0:55:330:55:35

-Is that your coach?

-Yeah. Robin's coached us since 2010.

-Yeah.

0:55:350:55:40

The summer or winter of 2010.

0:55:400:55:42

And he, yeah, he's always finding something for us technically.

0:55:420:55:47

He is probably the world's best technical coach and we're very,

0:55:470:55:50

very lucky to have him.

0:55:500:55:52

He makes us feel like we can always improve.

0:55:520:55:54

But at the same time, yeah,

0:55:540:55:56

that we are doing the right things and we're on the right path.

0:55:560:55:58

He can be very hard on us sometimes, but that's exactly what you need.

0:55:580:56:02

If you want to be better, you need someone to really push you.

0:56:020:56:05

Do you think that rowing and indeed other sports

0:56:050:56:08

need more female coaches?

0:56:080:56:11

And is it something either of you would ever think of doing?

0:56:110:56:14

It would be lovely to see more females involved in sport at

0:56:140:56:18

the high level, but it needs to be the right personality.

0:56:180:56:20

I really hope that it's something which is going to happen.

0:56:200:56:23

I can imagine it being a natural transition because the more

0:56:230:56:26

women are coming into sport,

0:56:260:56:28

and the more women are staying in sport longer, the more likely it is.

0:56:280:56:31

I mean, most of the male coaches are ex-athletes.

0:56:310:56:34

So you imagine that the more females there are in sport,

0:56:340:56:36

the more females will stay on and coach.

0:56:360:56:39

And hopefully, that will just be the answer.

0:56:390:56:42

Also, the better they do the less, they have to think,

0:56:420:56:44

"Well, do I have any credibility here?"

0:56:440:56:46

-Exactly, yeah.

-Yeah, you do. You're a champion, of course you do.

-Yeah.

0:56:460:56:49

-Or an Olympic silver medallist or bronze medallist.

-Yeah.

0:56:490:56:52

It doesn't take a really great sportsman to make

0:56:520:56:55

a really great coach.

0:56:550:56:56

But it does, like you say, give that credibility, which I think is

0:56:560:56:59

really important in the sporting environment.

0:56:590:57:01

Especially for a woman coming in.

0:57:010:57:03

If you want to be the first woman in your sport to be

0:57:030:57:06

a top coach or something, I do think that the performance as an athlete

0:57:060:57:09

is a good springboard towards that.

0:57:090:57:12

When you decide to become a full-time athlete,

0:57:120:57:15

what are the decisions you have to make about your life?

0:57:150:57:18

And if, for example, not socialising is one of those decisions,

0:57:180:57:22

does it feel like a sacrifice? People talk a lot about sacrifice.

0:57:220:57:26

Or does it just feel like, well, that's the decision I've made,

0:57:260:57:29

this is the way I live?

0:57:290:57:30

Initially, it's just a choice you've made and it's what you want to do.

0:57:300:57:34

And there are some times you think, "Ah, I'd really love to be

0:57:340:57:37

"going to this wedding or seeing these people."

0:57:370:57:39

And I think that's probably when some people talk about the

0:57:390:57:41

sacrifices cos there's times when it might be your closest friend

0:57:410:57:45

and you're missing some of the most important things in their life.

0:57:450:57:47

And you're like, I can't be there to support them.

0:57:470:57:50

You're no good as company at that wedding, frankly.

0:57:500:57:52

-No.

-No, that's true.

0:57:520:57:53

All you're doing is thinking, "I shouldn't be here."

0:57:530:57:55

Yeah. You're looking for a seat cos you want to get off your legs.

0:57:550:57:58

You're just eating everything in sight.

0:57:580:58:00

THEY LAUGH Oh, that bad?

0:58:000:58:02

You're not drinking anything.

0:58:020:58:04

And you're asleep by 10.00.

0:58:040:58:06

And you're going, "All right, I need to be in bed by 9.00."

0:58:060:58:09

-"Great, I'm so glad you came(!)"

-Yeah.

0:58:090:58:12

-"See ya!"

-So, yeah. People are probably pleased

0:58:120:58:14

-that we don't make it.

-THEY LAUGH

0:58:140:58:17

Going back to you and what you are together,

0:58:170:58:21

and what you are in the water together,

0:58:210:58:23

the motivation to become better -

0:58:230:58:26

do you find now that you don't want to let each other down?

0:58:260:58:29

That this is part of what drives you, is the other one?

0:58:290:58:33

A rowing race hurts so much. It really does.

0:58:330:58:35

That's the fourth, fifth minute, you're in so much pain.

0:58:350:58:39

And when you know that you're doing it for somebody else,

0:58:390:58:42

not just for yourself, it makes it so much more powerful.

0:58:420:58:45

Because I think you can give yourself excuses,

0:58:450:58:47

-but you can't give that for another person.

-Yeah.

0:58:470:58:49

-You can't back off.

-No, particularly not if they know you as well.

0:58:490:58:53

-BOTH:

-Yeah.

0:58:530:58:54

Does the memory of the pain, does that go pretty quickly?

0:58:540:58:57

If you win a race,

0:58:570:58:58

-you kind of immediately forget how much it hurt halfway.

-Yeah.

0:58:580:59:01

If you've lost that race, not only do you have the pain of losing, but

0:59:010:59:04

you're in agony for the whole race without the adrenaline of winning.

0:59:040:59:08

-Do you remember the last time you lost?

-Yes.

0:59:080:59:11

And do you hold on to that memory of the last time you lost?

0:59:110:59:14

A little bit. A little bit, yeah. Yeah.

0:59:140:59:16

I don't think we'll ever let ourselves forget it

0:59:160:59:19

because in one sense, it was almost the best thing that happened.

0:59:190:59:22

Cos that winter we were so determined about everything we did

0:59:220:59:25

that we knew that come London, we'd be in the best shape possible.

0:59:250:59:29

We'd done absolutely everything. We'd left no rock unturned.

0:59:290:59:32

We'd really pushed ourselves. It wasn't just because we'd lost.

0:59:320:59:36

I think we would have probably done that anyway.

0:59:360:59:38

But we had a memory, we had a video to look back and watch and go,

0:59:380:59:41

"Look, we don't want this to happen again."

0:59:410:59:43

Well, I'm not going to show you that video, cos that would be awful.

0:59:430:59:47

But I am going to show you the video of winning gold in London.

0:59:470:59:50

Just talk me through some of the key points.

0:59:500:59:52

I remember getting this feeling, which I know a lot of people get,

0:59:520:59:55

which is the feeling of dread

0:59:550:59:56

and "I would rather be anywhere in the world but here."

0:59:560:59:59

I think it's a really common feeling for people who have trained

0:59:591:00:02

every day just to get there and you don't want to be there.

1:00:021:00:05

And I actually remember seeing one of our good friends

1:00:051:00:09

who hadn't made the team...

1:00:091:00:11

And seeing her out of the corner of my eye and thinking,

1:00:111:00:14

"She would give anything to be here."

1:00:141:00:16

We don't often talk to each other on the start line.

1:00:161:00:19

We're in a kind of... We're in our zone.

1:00:191:00:22

We trust that the other person is getting themselves ready

1:00:221:00:25

-in their own way.

-And that they're going to go when...

1:00:251:00:27

-THEY ALL LAUGH

-Yeah.

-Start rowing!

1:00:271:00:30

-Helen can only really go once I go.

-Yeah.

1:00:301:00:31

And I think we do have a fast reaction time.

1:00:311:00:35

Yeah, I do remember looking back at the lights cos

1:00:351:00:37

I look for the red light to go out

1:00:371:00:39

rather than the green light to come on.

1:00:391:00:41

I just kept looking at the green light and was like...

1:00:411:00:44

We had obviously gone and it was still there and I was like,

1:00:441:00:46

"Why am I still looking at the traffic light?

1:00:461:00:48

Do you shout to motivate each other?

1:00:481:00:50

Helen does all the calls and she will speak to me

1:00:501:00:53

during the race, not constantly, but she'll, kind of,

1:00:531:00:55

give feedback to what I need to know about the race or

1:00:551:00:58

the tactics of what the other crews are doing.

1:00:581:01:00

Does she keep it polite?

1:01:001:01:01

Um...

1:01:011:01:02

Nine times out of ten.

1:01:021:01:04

HELEN CHUCKLES

1:01:041:01:05

I'm glad there's not a microphone on me in the boat.

1:01:051:01:09

We might have test that.

1:01:091:01:11

You know it's going to hurt at one stage and that's fine.

1:01:111:01:14

We know, like, in training we've hurt ourselves so many times.

1:01:141:01:17

You row through it and it's something you, kind of,

1:01:171:01:20

look forward to but don't wait for.

1:01:201:01:23

If it doesn't become painful at the time you're expecting,

1:01:231:01:25

then so be it. It doesn't necessarily mean

1:01:251:01:27

you haven't done enough.

1:01:271:01:28

So yeah, coming into the last bit, we obviously had all the crowd,

1:01:281:01:31

it was so phenomenally loud. It was something we had been warned about

1:01:311:01:34

as well is you won't be able to hear yourself think.

1:01:341:01:37

I couldn't hear Helen, despite her sitting a metre and a half away

1:01:371:01:39

-from me.

-Yeah. I was shouting. Imagine if you're in a nightclub

1:01:391:01:42

and you shout and you can't hear your own voice. And that's what...

1:01:421:01:45

I was saying to Helen, the calls that we'd run through,

1:01:451:01:48

I couldn't hear myself talking, so I just thought,

1:01:481:01:50

"I know Heather's not going to hear me."

1:01:501:01:52

And we just trusted that we had spoken through the plan

1:01:521:01:54

enough times to know it without needing to hear it.

1:01:541:01:59

And yeah, kind of, the first thing that made us realise

1:01:591:02:02

we'd crossed the line was the roar.

1:02:021:02:04

It changed from what we thought couldn't get any louder

1:02:041:02:06

to just... If there was a roof, it would have been blown off

1:02:061:02:09

when we crossed the line.

1:02:091:02:10

Well, the extra excitement was you were the first gold medal

1:02:101:02:13

-for Great Britain...

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-..of the London Olympics.

1:02:131:02:16

I definitely felt there had been something different about it.

1:02:161:02:18

We really wanted it to be a special moment for everybody,

1:02:181:02:21

but the fact that it really was because of that added extra

1:02:211:02:24

of it being the first gold of the games for GB,

1:02:241:02:27

it was really special for us

1:02:271:02:28

to know that it meant something to other people as well.

1:02:281:02:32

Do you get... Can you hear each other in the immediate aftermath?

1:02:321:02:36

-Yeah.

-Yeah, yeah, we could.

1:02:361:02:38

It's so awkward doing a celebration in a boat.

1:02:381:02:41

You're in a little narrow boat with one blade each,

1:02:411:02:43

you've got very little balance.

1:02:431:02:45

You can't turn round and hug each other,

1:02:451:02:46

so I obviously lie back and you just have this awkward moment of,

1:02:461:02:49

"What are you doing?"

1:02:491:02:51

But, yeah, it was just really nice that we get at the moment

1:02:511:02:54

where we just talk to each other.

1:02:541:02:56

And what did you say?

1:02:561:02:58

"I'm sorry." Because I knocked her glasses off her head.

1:02:581:03:00

She turned round to hug me and she knocked my sunglasses off.

1:03:001:03:03

She was like, "I'm sorry."

1:03:031:03:04

I was like, "Don't say sorry, we just won the Olympics!"

1:03:041:03:08

I still couldn't, even in the interviews after

1:03:081:03:10

and even in that moment, I still couldn't say, "We've done it.

1:03:101:03:13

"We've got the gold. We're Olympic champions."

1:03:131:03:16

To me we had just won the race.

1:03:161:03:18

It was an important race to win,

1:03:181:03:20

but just calling ourselves Olympic champions,

1:03:201:03:23

when seven minutes earlier we weren't Olympic champions,

1:03:231:03:26

just didn't feel like something we could do.

1:03:261:03:28

-And, like I said, that's what took a long time coming, didn't it?

-Yeah.

1:03:281:03:31

I think we very much approached it as a rowing race.

1:03:311:03:33

We were very ready to go and win our rowing race.

1:03:331:03:35

We knew we had every tool to do it.

1:03:351:03:38

We knew we were in the best shape we could be.

1:03:381:03:40

And so we went out and we won our race.

1:03:401:03:42

-We totally convinced ourselves that it was just another race.

-Yeah.

1:03:421:03:45

And because we had dumbed it down so much, once we had won...

1:03:451:03:48

..it took us so long to realise it was the Olympic final.

1:03:481:03:51

But even then, didn't you book a late lunch

1:03:511:03:53

-with friends and family?

-Yes.

-Yeah!

1:03:531:03:57

The day before we said to our mums and dads,

1:03:571:03:59

we'll meet you at five. We'll have a little late lunch in the pub.

1:03:591:04:02

Yeah, they had booked out a little pub in Windsor.

1:04:021:04:04

We were so naive, so naive.

1:04:041:04:07

I mean, it was our first Olympics, first big win at any championships.

1:04:071:04:11

I mean, we were just put in a car and taken to London.

1:04:111:04:14

And then at five, when we should have been in a pub with our parents,

1:04:141:04:17

we were sat beside Gary Lineker on a sofa.

1:04:171:04:19

And we didn't get back to about three in the morning or something...

1:04:191:04:22

-Yeah, gone past midnight.

-..just doing interviews.

1:04:221:04:24

-They celebrated without us.

-What were we thinking?

1:04:241:04:27

Why did we think that we could just, kind of...

1:04:271:04:29

But I think that probably just shows

1:04:291:04:31

how we did just think of it as another race.

1:04:311:04:34

The big difference with an Olympics is the medal ceremony,

1:04:341:04:38

and in front of a home crowd,

1:04:381:04:40

did you have any tips from anybody

1:04:401:04:41

on how to handle yourselves on the podium?

1:04:411:04:43

-No.

-Not at all.

-It's the kind of thing you don't speak about

1:04:431:04:46

because you never want to assume you'll be there.

1:04:461:04:48

And it's the kind of thing once you get there you go,

1:04:481:04:50

-"I wish I'd spoken to someone about this."

-Yeah.

-But you never would.

1:04:501:04:53

James Cracknell told me that Steve Redgrave said,

1:04:531:04:56

-"Drop the flowers and don't cry." BOTH:

-Oh, really?

-Yeah.

1:04:561:04:58

So, he dropped the flowers and then he put his arms around,

1:04:581:05:01

you know, the others. But in every photo, Matthew's crying.

1:05:011:05:04

I mean, I don't think it was too...

1:05:041:05:06

I think it was a really nice moment, actually.

1:05:061:05:09

-It was the first time we'd heard the national anthem.

-Yeah.

1:05:091:05:11

First time anyone had heard it of the whole games.

1:05:111:05:13

And it was the first time we had heard it ourselves.

1:05:131:05:16

Cos we'd never won a championships before,

1:05:161:05:18

we'd never stood in the middle of the podium

1:05:181:05:19

and sung the national anthem. We'd won World Cups,

1:05:191:05:22

but you don't have the national anthem there. So suddenly, we're

1:05:221:05:24

able to sing the national anthem and yeah, it wasn't that tuneful.

1:05:241:05:27

I remember thinking, "Oh, my God. I really want to sing,

1:05:271:05:30

"but we're such bad singers." I was thinking...

1:05:301:05:32

I remember thinking when the camera panned across us, thinking,

1:05:321:05:34

"I hope that doesn't have a microphone in it."

1:05:341:05:36

I just pictured our voices being blasted out to the whole world.

1:05:361:05:40

Yeah.

1:05:401:05:41

So that's what happened in London.

1:05:411:05:43

You've now got Rio to look forward to. Have either of you been there?

1:05:431:05:47

-Do you know anything about the rowing set up?

-Yeah.

1:05:471:05:50

We went on a recce, a three-week training camp two years ago

1:05:501:05:54

to get a, kind of, feel for the place. I think it's going to be a

1:05:541:05:57

stunning venue. It's going to be absolutely beautiful.

1:05:571:05:59

Have you got friends and family coming out with you to Brazil?

1:05:591:06:02

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-Will you get to see them?

1:06:021:06:04

-Even though...

-This has been a debate, hasn't it?

1:06:041:06:06

Even though we've been to an Olympics, obviously,

1:06:061:06:09

we've never been to an away games, so we just have no concept

1:06:091:06:12

of how often we'll get to see family and friends,

1:06:121:06:14

you know, where we could meet up.

1:06:141:06:16

I mean, Rio is a big, bustling, exciting place, but it's...

1:06:161:06:19

You know, when you think about logistics of meeting family and

1:06:191:06:22

friends outside of the rowing environment, we just don't know.

1:06:221:06:25

We've said to our family and friends, if you see us,

1:06:251:06:27

you'll see us and that'll be a bonus. It's a bonus.

1:06:271:06:29

And do you know where you are in the schedule?

1:06:291:06:31

We're in the first week, but near the end of the first week.

1:06:311:06:34

Oh, well, that's great. So you've got the second week?

1:06:341:06:36

-Will you stay out and go to other events?

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

1:06:361:06:38

-So that's great.

-Party time. THEY CHUCKLE

1:06:381:06:40

Now, has Steve told you about wildlife to look out for in Brazil?

1:06:401:06:43

Um... Not really actually.

1:06:431:06:45

-Is he coming?

-He's coming out, yeah, yeah.

1:06:451:06:47

He's on expedition all the way

1:06:471:06:49

through now until we go to Rio.

1:06:491:06:51

-So you just won't see him?

-Well, I might see him once,

1:06:511:06:54

literally for one day, before we compete at the Olympics.

1:06:541:06:57

And then you get to see him for a little bit afterwards

1:06:571:07:00

-and then you get married?

-And then we get married, yeah.

1:07:001:07:02

-So we don't have time to change our minds.

-No. That's good.

1:07:021:07:04

-This is all good.

-You'll be so excited to see each other.

-You will.

1:07:041:07:07

Do you think, sitting here now,

1:07:091:07:12

being honest about your opposition, being honest about where you are,

1:07:121:07:15

what is your expectation going to Rio?

1:07:151:07:19

I think the expectation is we want to go and defend that title.

1:07:191:07:21

We know we've got the ability to do it,

1:07:211:07:24

but we also know we've got some very strong competition.

1:07:241:07:26

So we're going to train hard and do everything we can in the time

1:07:261:07:30

between now and then to eliminate that chance of being beaten.

1:07:301:07:32

Coming into the games, everybody peaks for the same event.

1:07:321:07:35

Everybody's now peaking once in four years

1:07:351:07:38

and it closes things up, it closes margins up.

1:07:381:07:40

We know that we're going to have to be the best version of ourselves.

1:07:401:07:43

I'm not saying we need to do anything special or different,

1:07:431:07:46

but we need to be the best version that we have in training,

1:07:461:07:49

package that and take that to our start line in Rio.

1:07:491:07:52

You know, there are New Zealand and there's America

1:07:521:07:55

and there are three of us all looking for that top spot

1:07:551:07:58

and we want to be the ones to take it.

1:07:581:08:00

There's no reason we wouldn't be the ones, but it's going to be tough.

1:08:001:08:03

Well, I can't wait to see your race and good luck.

1:08:031:08:06

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you, cheers.

1:08:061:08:08

I don't know about you, but I listen to Helen and Heather

1:08:081:08:10

and it just makes me feel really confident,

1:08:101:08:13

not because they're arrogant or egotistical, not even, really,

1:08:131:08:16

because of their results, which obviously are exceptional,

1:08:161:08:19

but because of their combined determination,

1:08:191:08:23

their absolute certainty in the work that they've been doing,

1:08:231:08:26

the training they've been doing,

1:08:261:08:28

the fact that they are not hoping to peak because it's an Olympic games.

1:08:281:08:32

They know they will have done enough to get there.

1:08:321:08:34

And if everything, you know, barring any disaster,

1:08:341:08:36

if everything goes right, that they will be strong enough

1:08:361:08:40

to retain their Olympic title.

1:08:401:08:42

It matters hugely to them.

1:08:421:08:44

And I think they're not just furthering the sport of rowing,

1:08:441:08:47

they're furthering women's sport as a whole,

1:08:471:08:49

in terms of their professional approach.

1:08:491:08:50

But the other lovely thing is they just are a team

1:08:501:08:53

and a friendship and a partnership

1:08:531:08:54

that bring out the best in each other

1:08:541:08:56

and they are better together.

1:08:561:08:58

Clare meets with Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, who created history by winning team GB's first gold at London 2012, to learn how confident they are of winning a second consecutive gold.


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