Tokyo 2020: Helen Glover named in GB Olympic rowing squad

Helen Glover and Polly Swann
Helen Glover (left) has had three children - Logan, two, and one-year-old twins Kit and Willow - since Rio 2016

British Rowing has announced a 45-strong squad to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, including 37 debutants.

Only eight are returning Olympians, including two-time gold medallist Helen Glover, who is set to become the first British rower to compete at the Games after having children.

The 34-year-old will compete in the women's pairs with 2016 silver medallist Polly Swann.

The squad comprises 10 boats, formed by 24 women and 21 men.

Helen Glover and family in Rio in 2016
Glover thanked her TV explorer husband Steve Backshall, (centre) and her family for their support.

Of her third Games, Glover said she hoped to "represent other parents and people who didn't believe what was possible".

Glover, who has three children under three - Logan, two, and one-year-old twins Kit and Willow - said: "I thought it was an impossible mission this time last year but I always had this day in my sights and I feel really proud that it's here and that I've made the Olympic team."

The three-time world champion and racing partner Swann, 33, will be looking to build on their recent European title.

Swann, who took time out of the sport in 2020 to work as a junior doctor for the NHS during the pandemic, said she cried when she found out she would be returning to the Olympic team.

"I've been on such a journey this Olympiad. Being in the boat with Helen takes me full circle," she said.

"I love that the two of us have chosen to come back after time away and we're doing it because it's a sport we love, and I think racing at this Olympics will mean a little bit more to both of us."

Moe Sbihi
Moe Sbihi (second from left) will hope to add to his Olympic medal collection

Another athlete returning for his third Games is Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Moe Sbihi.

The 33-year-old will race in the men's eight alongside Olympic debutants Josh Bugajski, Jacob Dawson, Tom George, Charlie Elwes, Oli Wynn-Griffith, James Rudkin, Tom Ford and cox Henry Fieldman.

Rio Olympic silver medallist Vicky Thornley, who partnered Katherine Grainger to her fifth Olympic medal, will take on the women's single sculls - an achievement she says has been a long-term goal.

Tokyo selection 'amazing' after tough year - Thornley

The men's coxless four, an event in which Britain have taken the gold at the past five Games, will be taken on by a team of Olympic debutants.

The team of Ollie Cook, Matt Rossiter, Rory Gibbs and Sholto Carnegie won the 2019 European Championship gold, and followed that success with a bronze at the World Championships.

On the pressure of maintaining Britain's streak in the coxless four, Rossiter said: "There is a phenomenal heritage of men's fours from Great Britain but ultimately we want to go as fast as we can and write our own story."

Ollie Cook, Matt Rossiter, Rory Gibbs and Sholto Carnegie
The men's coxless four have a pedigree of five consecutive Olympic golds to live up to

The women's eight hope to match or improve the silver medal won in 2016. The team of debutants comprises Fiona Gammond, Sara Parfett, Rebecca Edwards, Chloe Brew, Katherine Douglas, Caragh McMurtry, Beccy Muzerie, Emily Ford and cox Matilda Horn.

Also heading to Tokyo are European silver medallists Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double, while Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, Hannah Scott, Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne and Lucy Glover make up the women's quad.

European bronze medallists John Collins and Graeme Thomas will compete in the men's double and Rowan McKellar, Harriet Taylor, Karen Bennett and Rebecca Shorten complete the women's four boat.

The men's quad of Harry Leask, Angus Groom, Thomas Barras and Jack Beaumont complete the line-up.

The rowing events get under way on 23 July from Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay.