British Army Captain, Heather Stanning, has been selected to compete as a member of the Great Britain Rowing Team at the London Olympics.
She will partner teammate Helen Glover in the women’s pair and they are a firm favourite for a medal this summer.
Heather (27), an officer in the Royal Artillery, was informed about her official selection following her double world cup successes last month. She said:
“It’s amazing to be selected to represent my country at the Olympics. This is what I have been working for the last two years of my life."
Heather and Helen have risen to the top ranks of women’s rowing over the past couple of years. They took silver in the World Championships in 2010 and 2011 and hope to go one better at the Olympics,
“We are looking forward to the Olympics. It’s very exciting to be part of it and it is now very close. Every day is a really important training day and there is so much we can do between now and then.
“The Army has been amazing giving me the time I need to train. I am really proud of being part of the Forces, and the Army has been fantastic in supporting me to get me to where I am.”
Career on hold
Heather commissioned in 2008 and after 18 months as a Troop Commander her potential as an elite rower became increasingly apparent. She has had to put her Army career on hold for the last couple of years to focus on her 2012 Olympic ambitions.
Heather is determined that now that she and her crewmate have been selected she can have success at the Games this summer. When asked if she thinks that they can win Gold this summer she simply says with a wry smile, “Of course we can”.
Post-Olympics Heather is due to return to the Royal Artillery and she doesn’t rule out serving in Afghanistan. “Very possibly,” she nods. “I’m due to go back to my Regiment and whether I deploy depends on which unit I am posted to.”
The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall KCB CBE ADC Gen, said of Heather’s selection,
“Heather Stanning’s selection for the British rowing team is brilliant news, and thoroughly deserved. All in the Army wish her the best of luck in the Olympic games.”
The Master Gunner St. James Park, General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman GBE KCB ADC Gen also spoke of Heather’s success:
“We are delighted that Captain Heather Stanning has been selected for the Great Britain Rowing Team for the Olympics. It is greatly to Captain Stanning’s credit that, when the Army is so busy and the demands of sport are so great, she has been able to combine being a professional Army officer and an elite sportswoman. We look forward to celebrating her achievement and welcoming her back to the Royal Artillery after the Games.”
As the daughter of Royal Navy officers and with two brothers both serving, one in the Army and the other in the Royal Navy, it seems her whole family have an affinity to forces life. When choosing her career, the Army was top of her list, “The Army really attracted me. I was drawn to it by the adventure training, the opportunity for sport and ever since the age of 16, the Army was what I wanted to do.”