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Heather Stanning

Heather Stanning MBE
Personal information
Full name Heather Mary Stanning
Nationality British
Born (1985-01-26) 26 January 1985
Yeovil, Somerset, England[1]
Residence Lossiemouth
Height 181 centimetres (5.94 ft) (2012)
Weight 75 kg – 165 Lbs (2012)
Country  United Kingdom
Sport Rowing
Event(s) Women's coxless pair
Turned pro 2009
Partner Helen Glover

Heather Mary Stanning MBE (born 26 January 1985) is a British professional rower, a member of the Great Britain Rowing Team, and Royal Artillery officer. As of August 2014 she is the current world record holder and the reigning Olympic, World and World Cup champion in the women's coxless pairs.

She is a Captain in the 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery but has been given dispensation from the army to pursue an Olympic career with the British team at both the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Paired with Helen Glover in 2012 she won an Olympic gold medal, the first for their country of the 2012 Games and the first ever British Olympic gold medal in women's rowing. She set the world record time in partnership with Helen Glover at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam.

Early life

Stanning was born in Yeovil, Somerset, England,[2] her parents Timothy and Mary were Royal Navy officers.[3][4] She was educated at Gordonstoun, Scotland, where she was appointed head girl in her final year.[5] Her school yearbook predicted that she would be the first one to win an Olympic gold medal.[6]

Whilst in sixth form she won a British Army scholarship[3] and went on to study sports technology at the University of Bath, England,[7] she started rowing in 2006 under the Team GB Start Programme.[7] She graduated from University in 2007 before going on to Sandhurst alongside her brother, Martin, who is now in the Black Watch.[4] Another brother, Alistair, is a Navy doctor.[5]


Stanning was commissioned from Sandhurst into the Royal Artillery in August 2008,[7] based at Larkhill Garrison on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. She holds the rank of Captain and serves in 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery.[8][9]


In 2006 Stanning started rowing and was selected for Team GB "Start" programme where she was coached by Paul Stannard. In 2007 she partnered Olivia Whitlam to win the women's pair competition at the World Rowing U23 Championships. In 2008 she won the Remenham Challenge Cup for women's eights at the Henley Royal Regatta.[9] In 2009 she tried out for TeamGB and joined the crew of the women's eight with Victoria Bryant, Ruth Walczak, Victoria Meyer-Laker, Monica Relph, Jaqueline Round, Leonora Kennedy, Rachael Jefferies and Zoe de Toledo. They finished seventh at the European Rowing Championships held in Brest, Belarus.[10][4]


Stanning was given leave from the army in 2010 in order to train for Olympic competition and was paired with Helen Glover in the women's coxless pairs.[11][12] At the 2010 World Rowing Cup they finished 9th in Bled and 5th in Munich, but were unable to race at Lucerne due to Glover's illness.

In July Glover and Stanning started to be coached by Robin Williams. They were ranked 16th and 17th in their event, but they improved so rapidly that at the 2010 World Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro in New Zealand in November they won a silver medal behind Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown of New Zealand.[13][14]


In 2011 Glover and Stanning won the coxless pair event at the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials at Eton-Dorney with a time of 7 minutes 15 seconds. They went on to win both the Munich and Lucerne World Rowing Cup regattas, beating the reigning world champions Haigh and Scown of New Zealand. Great Britain did not enter round 2 of the World Cup in Hamburg due to an E. coli outbreak in the area.[15]

Glover and Stanning finished second in the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, 0.1 seconds behind the winning New Zealand crew of Haigh and Scown.[13] Their coach Robin Williams described it as a gold medal performance without getting the gold medal.[14]

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning at Dorney Lake during the 2012 Olympic Games.


In 2012 Glover and Stanning completed a clean sweep of all three events in the women's coxless pair of the World Rowing Cup. Winning gold at Belgrade Sava, Serbia; Lucerne Rotsee, Switzerland; and Munich Oberschleissheim, Germany.[10][16]

On 1 August 2012 Glover and Stanning won the gold medal in the women's coxless pairs at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.[17][18] This was Team GB's first gold medal of London 2012, and a first ever Olympic gold medal for British women's rowing.[17][18] As with other gold medal winners, Royal Mail issued a commemorative stamp showing their celebrations, plus painting a post box gold in her home town of Lossiemouth to commemorate the event.[19][18][20] After the race, the BBC played a message to Stanning from her regiment, which is deployed in Afghanistan.[11]

In September 2012 Stanning reported back to Larkhill garrison and resumed her British Army career,[7] before being posted to Helmand Province in Afghanistan.[5] Stanning completed her tour of Afghanistan in the summer of 2013, and returned to training in December of that year.[21]


On 17 March 2014 Stanning was part of the composite crew that won the Women's Eights Head of the River Race on the River Thames in London, setting a record time of 17:42.2 for the 4 1⁄4-mile (6.8 km) Championship Course from Mortlake to Putney. The crew comprised Heather Stanning – Army RC; Beth Rodford – Gloucester RC; Zoe Lee – Imperial College BC; Jessica Eddie – London RC; Helen GloverMinerva Bath Rowing Club; Olivia Carnegie-Brown – Oxford Brookes University BC; Tina Stiller – Tees RC; Caragh McMurtry – Reading University BC; cox Phelan HillLeander Club.[22]

On 19 April 2014 Helen Glover and Stanning, coached by Paul Thompson, won the women's pair at the British rowing trials at Caversham, they took seven minutes 56.08 seconds and finished 1.14 seconds ahead of Polly Swann and Jessica Eddie. Stanning said "It was brilliant to be back racing with Helen. It feels like old times, but at the same time it's so refreshing because we've both learnt new things while we've been apart."[23][24] In May Stanning's training schedule was reduced in intensity, causing her to be replaced in the European Championships by Polly Swann.[25]

Teamed with Helen Glover in the women's coxless pair, Stanning won gold at the second and third rounds of the World Rowing Cup at Lac d'Aiguebelette in France in June and Lucerne Rotsee on 13 July, which also clinched the overall title despite TeamGB not entering the first event in Australia in March. At Aiguebelette they qualified directly for the final which they completed in 7 minutes 6.9 seconds, finishing two seconds ahead of the Americans Grace Luczak and Caroline Lind. At Lucerne they again qualified directly for the final which, despite Glover's illness, they completed in 7 minutes 12.99 seconds, finishing a length ahead of the New Zealand 2 crew of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler.[26][27][28][29][30][31]

On 30 September Stanning, partnered by Helen Glover, retained her world title at the 2014 World Rowing Championships held at the Bosbaan, Amsterdam. They won both their heat and the semi-final and set a new world record time of 6:50.61 in the final, breaking the 2002 time by three seconds. They defeated the silver medallists, Megan Kalmoe and Kerry Simmonds of the United States, by over two seconds. Glover said: "I knew we were ready but there was so much expectation, so winning is definitely a relief."[32][19][33]

At the British Rowing Championships on 18-19 October at Holme Pierrepont (Nottingham), Stanning was part of the composite crew that won gold in both the women's fours sweep event and the quad sculls. Racing under the acronym LIMA, the crew comprised: Jessica Eddie - London RC; Zoe Lee - Imperial College BC; Helen Glover - Minerva-Bath RC; and Heather Stanning - Army RC.[34][35]


Stanning was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to rowing.[36][37]

See also


  1. ^ McEvoy, Jonathan (1 August 2012). "Now we're happy and glorious! Stanning and Glover are golden trailblazers". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Helen Glover and Heather Stanning win London 2012 rowing gold medal". 1 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Army officer hoping for Olympic glory". People in Defence. July 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Carrell, Severin (1 August 2012). "Heather Stanning's gold medal is just the tonic for her Scottish hometown". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Faulkner, Katherine; Eccles, Louise (1 August 2012). "The very middle-class supergirls: Former head girl at Zara's boarding school will be in Helmand by the New Year and the woman who four years ago had never held an oar". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Luckhurst, Samuel (1 August 2012). "Heather Stanning Predicted To Be Olympic Gold Medal Winner In School Yearbook". Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d Davies, Lizzy (1 August 2012). "Helen Glover and Heather Stanning profiles: Team GB's gold medal winners".  
  8. ^ "Gold! Heather Stanning and Helen Glover stormed to victory in the women's pairs rowing". Daily Telegraph. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  9. ^ a b The Guardian, 1 August 2012. Olympics 2012, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning profiles: Team GB's golden winners
  10. ^ a b World Rowing – FISA Rowing Database
  11. ^ a b "Olympic gold for Army's Heather Stanning". People in Defence. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  12. ^ Katherine Faulkner; Louise Eccles (1 August 2012). "The very middle-class supergirls: Former head girl at Zara's boarding school will be in Helmand by the New Year and the woman who four years ago had never held an oar". Daily Mail. Mail Online. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Helen Glover". Biographies.  
  14. ^ a b The Cambridge Student, Interview – Team GB rowing coach Robin Williams
  15. ^ The Guardian, 8 June 2011, Britain pull out of Rowing World Cup in Hamburg over E coli fears
  16. ^ British Rowing – Profile 2013
  17. ^ a b "Brilliant Glover and Stanning claim gold for GB".  
  18. ^ a b c Barrett, Lawrence (1 August 2012). "Helen Glover & Heather Stanning enter Olympics history".  
  19. ^ a b "Penzance post box painted gold for Olympian Helen Glover".  
  20. ^ Birmingham Mail, 2 August 2012. Olympics 2012: Royal Mail unveils special stamps to celebrate GB gold medal winners
  21. ^ Barretto, Lawrence (23 August 2014). "Heather Stanning: Back in the boat; on top of the world?".  
  22. ^ Women's Eights Head of the River Race, Official Results Archive. 2014 results
  23. ^ BBC, Sport – Rowing. 19 April 2014. Heather Stanning & Helen Glover reunite to win British rowing trials By Lawrence Barretto
  24. ^ British Rowing. 19 April 2014. Trio of Olympic Champions amongst six title winners at GB Rowing Team Trials
  25. ^ BBC Sport News, 14 May 2014, Heather Stanning backed for quick return despite European absence, By Lawrence Barretto
  26. ^ BBC Sport. Rowing. 22 June 2014. Helen Glover & Heather Stanning win GB gold at Rowing World Cup
  27. ^ The Cornishman, 26 June 2014. Glover and Stanning win World Cup gold
  28. ^ Rowing One, 19 - 22 Jun 2014, 2014 World Rowing Cup II, Aiguebelette, FRA
  29. ^ Rowing One, 19 - 22 Jun 2014, 2014 World Rowing Cup II, Aiguebelette, FRA Womens coxless pairs results
  30. ^ Helen Glover and Heather Stanning lead Britain's medal charge at Lucerne World Cup regatta, by Rachel Quarrell, Lucerne
  31. ^ World Rowing. Rowing World Cup III - Lucerne 2014 - Results
  32. ^ World Rowing. 30 August 2014, Hot racing, World Best Times and new World Champions
  33. ^ World Rowing, Results database - 2014 World Championships
  34. ^ Daily Telegraph, 19 Oct 2014, Sport, Lima crew take quads gold as poor weather interrupts British Rowing Championships by Rachell Quarrell
  35. ^ , 19 October 2014, Rowing: Penzance's Helen Glover celebrates double joy at British Championships, by Nath RichardsThe Cornishman
  36. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60367. p. 25. 29 December 2012.
  37. ^ [1] Cabinet Office

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