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Olympic rower Helen Glover trained for Tokyo 2020 when her babies napped after two hours of sleep


Olympic rower Helen Glover trained for Tokyo 2020 while her babies were napping on just TWO HOURS of sleep per night

She’s heading to Tokyo 2020 for her third Olympics as part of Team GB. 

And Helen Glover revealed on Friday that she trained for the Games while her three-year-old son Logan and one-year-old twins Willow and Kit were napping. 

The athlete, 35, told The Olympic Mile podcast that welcoming her children with her television presenter husband Steve Backshall has given her ‘Mum strength’ and that she’s able to train on just one or two hours sleep per night. 

Multi-tasking: Olympic rower Helen Glover revealed on Friday that she trained for Tokyo 2020 while her three-year-old son Logan and one-year-old twins Willow and Kit were napping

Helen said: ‘When the babies were young I’d train during nap times, as soon as they went down to sleep I’d go to the rowing machine and train and stop when they woke up. 

‘I go through nights when I barely have one or two hours sleep and I go to training in the morning and I feel fine- that’s not normal! 

‘I couldn’t have done that before kids, so I do think there’s something to be said for “Mum strength”! 

‘A lot of coffee is involved but still there’s definitely something in being a mum which I think just makes you carry on.’ 

'I couldn’t have done that before': The athlete said welcoming her children has given her 'Mum strength' and that she's now able to train on just one or two hours sleep per night

‘I couldn’t have done that before’: The athlete said welcoming her children has given her ‘Mum strength’ and that she’s now able to train on just one or two hours sleep per night

Helen is the first woman to make a British Olympic rowing team after having children. 

It has been five years since her last Olympics, in which time she welcomed all three of her children.   

The athlete has previously won gold medals for coxless pairs at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 games and has been away from elite rowing for four years. 

'A lot of coffee is involved but still there’s definitely something in being a mum which I think just makes you carry on,' Helen revealed on The Olympic Mile podcast

‘A lot of coffee is involved but still there’s definitely something in being a mum which I think just makes you carry on,’ Helen revealed on The Olympic Mile podcast 

Of her time away from elite sport, Helen revealed: ‘In the 5 years I’ve had out the last Olympics I didn’t keep up the rowing, I didn’t go in a rowing boat at all. 

‘I kept up the fitness but I left the sport behind and had started a family. But then 2020 happened and I got a rowing machine at home,

‘When the babies napped I was doing a bit of exercise and it wasn’t until the end of the summer when it was clear that this [pandemic] was going to last a long time, the Olympics had been moved a year, I started to see some good scores and I started to get that really annoying niggle in my head- wondering if it was possible.’ 

Pioneer: Helen is the first woman to make a British Olympic rowing team after having children

Pioneer: Helen is the first woman to make a British Olympic rowing team after having children

She continued: ‘No woman’s ever come back [after motherhood] and made it onto the Olympic team before for rowing and I was just thinking…I just wonder….

‘It just started to niggle away at me and I decided, ok if I’m still training, still enjoying it and if the kids are still happy by Christmas time then I’ll have a go at getting back on the team. 

‘I didn’t think I would carry on but it just kept on going!’ she added. 

Champion: The athlete previously won coxless pairs gold at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 games (pictured training ahead of Tokyo 2020 with her partner Polly Swann)

Champion: The athlete previously won coxless pairs gold at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 games (pictured training ahead of Tokyo 2020 with her partner Polly Swann)

'No woman’s ever come back [after motherhood] and made it onto the Olympic team before for rowing and I was just thinking…I just wonder….' Helen said of her incredible comeback

‘No woman’s ever come back [after motherhood] and made it onto the Olympic team before for rowing and I was just thinking…I just wonder….’ Helen said of her incredible comeback 

And Helen revealed her daughter particularly inspired her to keep training and commit to her return to rowing. 

She said: ‘I looked at my little girl Willow thinking in 20 years time when you’re making decisions, I just don’t want you to be held back by any fear, by any kind of doubt, by any pressures from society’ 

‘I just want you to feel like- even if you don’t make it it doesn’t matter because you tried.’  

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics run from 23 July until 8 August with Helen’s first heat taking place tomorrow.  

The Olympic Mile is available to listen to on BBC Sounds

'I just don’t want her to be held back by any pressures from society': Helen revealed her daughter Willow particularly inspired her to keep training

‘I just don’t want her to be held back by any pressures from society’: Helen revealed her daughter Willow particularly inspired her to keep training

 

 

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