Moray’s golden girl is set to return to be back in full training by the end of next month with a view to returning for a second shot at Olympic Gold.
After winning the UK’s first gold medal alongside rowing partner Helen Glover at the London games last year, Heather Stanning returned to duties as an officer with the Royal Artillery – and only recently returned from an operational tour with her regiment in Afghanistan.
Now Heather has revealed that since returning to the UK she has been back in the gym preparing to launch a selection bid for the Olympic Rowing team at the 2016 games.
“The plan is to get back to being a full time athlete by the end of the year,” the 28-year-old from Lossiemouth said, adding: “I don’t know when I last saw a vast expanse of water!
“There is a lot of change at the moment, so everything is quite strange. To be in Afghanistan and see what has been achieved and to be a part of that is really important to me.”
Heather received a heroes welcome when she returned to Moray last year sporting her gold medal, but as other athletes embarked on more relaxing pursuits she returned to the army rather than renewing her partnership with Glover.
During her spell at Camp Bastion, however, she retained a level of fitness on a rowing machine rather than on water. She said: “There were a few good gyms so I had the kit to help me keep fit.
“I have spent an awful lot of time on the rowing machine in the last six months and now I’m looking forward to getting back on the water.”
As well as lifting the first UK Gold at the London Olympics, Heather and Helen became the first women rowers to collect winners medals. The pair were later awarded MBE’s in the New Year Honours list – and for Heather came the accolade of turning on the Christmas Lights in her home town.