Heather Stanning profile: Tipped for Olympic glory by her schoolmates
SHE was described in her school yearbook as the classmate most likely to win Olympic gold.
But while Heather Stanning will be celebrating for some time to come over her medal triumph at London 2012, the focused 27-year-old already has her next goal in sight – returning to active duty with the Royal Artillery.
Her sporting success was achieved during a two-year sabbatical from the army, but as of September, she aims to return to her barracks in Wiltshire, before deploying to Helmand next year.
Born in Yeovil but raised in Lossiemouth, Moray, Captain Stanning comes from a military family. Her father, Tim, and mother, Mary, both served in the Royal Navy, while one brother, Alistair, is a navy doctor, and the other, Martin, is a member of the Black Watch.
During her time in Lossiemouth, she never once picked up an oar, instead playing hockey. But her classmates at Gordonstoun obviously recognised her sporting prowess.
After moving to Bath to study sports technology in 2004, she was encouraged to take up rowing after someone pointed out that her 5ft 11in frame could make her a natural. She started rowing seriously in 2006, when she joined the Team GB Start programme, and soon impressed her then coach, Hamish Burrell.
In 2007, she won the women’s pair competition at the world Under-23 championships and in 2008 the Remenham Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal regatta.
By then, she had paired up with Helen Glover, and two years ago the pair made a name for themselves with strong performances in the World Cup Series and a heroic silver at the World Rowing Championships. Since then, the duo have never looked back.
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