Olympic rower Helen Glover returns to Oldfield School to open sports centre
A former Bath teacher who went on to win gold at the 2012 Olympics has returned to her former school to open a new sports hall.
Rower Helen Glover was one of Team GB’s heroes during the summer games when she and her teammate Heather Stanning picked up the country’s first gold medal.
Two-and-a-half years ago she left her job as a PE teacher at Oldfield School to pursue her Olympic dream and today popped back to see some of her old colleagues and pupils, as well as officially opening the new £1.85 million sports centre.
The 26-year-old said she had fond memories of her time at the Kelston Road school.
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“It is great to be back,” she said. “I remember feeling really well supported and already today a lot of the pupils have said to me “I knew you would win”.
“The people I worked with, well I couldn’t have asked for more from them. It is just such a great environment.”
Glover - who trained with the city’s Minerva rowing club - said that in some ways she did miss her teaching career, but hoped that by coming back to the school she could help inspire some of the pupils in a different way.
She said: “Of course I have now replaced teaching with something else, but when I see the girls and remember how much fun I had teaching, I do miss it.
“It is an incredibly hard job, but it is so rewarding. I have so much respect for people who do it.
“My gold medal was the first Olympic gold medal I had ever seen. I would have loved to have had the chance to ask questions to an Olympian, so hopefully these kind of things will inspire them.”
Glover was welcomed to the school by a group of Year 7 pupils singing the Gary Barlow Jubilee song Sing, before talking to a Year 11 PE class, many of whom she had taught during her time at Oldfield.
Kareina, 15, and Georgia, 16, both from Bristol, said they had enjoyed cheering her on during the Olympics.
Kareina said: “She was a great teacher, really encouraging, and we knew quite a bit about the rowing she was doing. We are really proud of her.”
Georgia added: “It is amazing telling people that it was our teacher who won Britain’s first gold medal.”
Head teacher Kim Sparling said that when Glover had been interviewed for the job, the school had known she was an Olympic hopeful and everyone had been excited when she had gone on to make that dream a reality.
She said: “We were delighted to have her working at the school, but when she got that funding to go full-time, sadly we had to wish her well with her Olympic training.
“Maybe in some future life she might come back to teaching, but we know she will be continuing her training for at least another four years for the next games.”