By Paul Eddison

HELEN Glover is not used to relinquishing power but she is willing to adapt as she prepares for her fourth Olympic Games.

The double Olympic champion from Truro came out of retirement for the second time with the aim of making it to Paris 2024, and looks set to achieve that goal.

She won both of her golds in the women’s pair, and it was in the same boat that she finished fourth in Tokyo – a remarkable achievement given she had only been back on the water for a year.

Now, having returned from a second retirement, Glover has been named in the coxless fours for this month’s World Cup event in Italy, a different challenge where she admits she will not have the same level of control.

She explained: “It’s definitely different, it’s a different challenge. It’s a challenge I wanted when I came back. I was very keen to do something new and challenge myself in a different way. You relinquish a lot of the power. In the pair you have a lot more authority but I really enjoy that. I like feeling part of a team, much bigger than me. It’s been really enjoyable.

“It did a little bit (take time to get used to). I was quite keen to learn from the people around me. I’ve got quite a few experienced people with me.

“I know that a lot of my experience will come in useful getting to the Olympics. I think there is a healthy amount of everyone having enough say in the boat.”

The coxless four have enjoyed a strong Olympic cycle, winning World Championship gold in 2022 before following that up with bronze last summer as Glover returned.

Now 37, Glover knows exactly what it takes to reach the Games in peak condition, with the mum of three keen to bring her children on the journey to Paris with her.

Managing her family and the Olympic dream is not easy, with Glover’s husband, TV presenter Steve Backshall, taking on a lot of the administrative tasks around Paris.

But for Glover, there is no question of focusing all her energy on her rowing.

“One thing I find hugely interesting is that if I do all the extra-curricular activities with the kids, if I do the pick-ups and the parents evenings and the clubs, you might think it would take away so much from my recovery that it would affect my performance,” added Glover, speaking as an official Aldi ambassador ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games.

“But actually, doing it is the most important thing. The mental freedom I get, knowing that I’m doing the best job I can, frees me up to be the best rower I can. Practically, maybe going home and resting would be the right thing to do, but I’m blown away by the amount that mental freedom gives me, even if my body might be exhausted. When I know the kids are happy and safe and settled, I feel like I can get the best out of myself on the water.”

Aldi are the official partners of the Nearest and Dearest programme in partnership with Team GB. It helps maximise support and minimise potential distractions for athletes so that they can focus on their performance and make the most of the unique opportunity to compete on one of the world’s largest stages.

Along with a five-year-old boy, Glover and Backshall have four-year-old twins, with all three planning to be in Paris for the Games.

For now, the challenge is grasping exactly when their mum will be going for that third gold.

“The twins understand now,” Glover said. “They see how much training I do and how much work I do. They ask ‘When is this race?’. It’s brought up at nursery and they are asking ‘Is it today?’. A couple of times I’ve walked out to training and they wish me good luck at the Olympics. I have to say, not yet! I think when they finally realise and see what all the hard work is about.

“In terms of when I first came back, I wanted the kids to be part of the journey and wanted them to be part of it. Now, the realisation is that probably only matters in Paris. In the day-to-day, mummy is on the rowing machine again, that’s not very exciting for them and is quite normalised. They feel part of it and they will probably look back and realise what I am doing. But it comes down to them being three little faces in Paris.

“Them being there will really be the crescendo of the whole thing, bringing the family along for the whole experience.”