Helen Glover’s bid for a third Olympic medal remains on course as her sensational comeback continues.
Glover, the two-time defending champions, and Polly Swann are into the final of the coxless pairs.
Having finished third in their heat, the Penzance star and Swann finished second in their semi-final behind only Greece as they look to cap a remarkable turnaround after retirement.
Who are Helen Glover and Polly Swann?
The rowers came together just four months ago. Glover, 35, had retired after winning this event for the second time at the Rio 2016 Olympics and had three children with husband TV presenter Steve Backshall.
She trained for Tokyo sometimes on two hours sleep a night and said: “It was never in my mind that I would compete for a third time.
“When I look back to New Year’s Day 2020 I was pregnant with twins and now I’m competing in Tokyo. I still can’t believe it.
Lancaster’s Swann worked as a doctor during lockdown. The 33-year-old won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the women’s eight.
When is the final?
The rowing medal finals start at 12.30am on Thursday 29 August. The women’s coxless pairs final is expected to start around 1.30am British time.
It will be broadcast live on TV on BBC1 and BBC iPlayer.
Who are their biggest rivals for a medal?
Glover and Swann finished behind 0.69 seconds behind the Greek pair, who are the world leaders for 2021, with Canada just behind in third. Australia missed out on a place in the final.
It sets up a final that will feature Kiwi favourites Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler but not a USA crew who were tipped to rival the Brits for a place on the podium.
How did Glover and Swann qualify?
Glover and Swann struggled in their heat, only finishing third, but stepped up their game in the semi-final despite an exciting finish.
The British pair led for much of the way but saw their advantage eroded and four crews approached the line together knowing only three would make it through.
Greece emerged victorious but Glover and Swann held on for second, just ahead of Canada, with Australia the crew that missed out.
“It is a very competitive event, you wouldn’t have written this final at the beginning of the year, but that is what is exciting,” said Glover.
“A year or so ago, I’d only been rowing for a few weeks. We feel as a crew, we should be in the final so it’s not a huge celebration to be there.
“But in other way of course we are celebrating it, as a story of how far we have come. But it is also a story about how far we have to go.
“We are excited for the next 24 hours.”
What are the weather conditions like for rowing?
Conditions at Sea Forest Waterway have been very difficult for the rowers with racing on Monday and Tuesday cancelled and strong crosswind posing steering issues.
Glover believes the pair’s sluggish heat performance could be partly attributed to the tough environment
“It feels like we have got acclimatised in the last few days with some elements of dealing with the weather, and how it feels racing in these conditions,” said Glover.
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