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Heather Stanning

Heather Stanning

Double Olympic Rowing Champion & Role Model of Female Achievement



United Kingdom

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Heather Stanning MBE won Olympic Gold in rowing at the Rio 2016 and London 2012 Olympic Games.  Heather was one half of one of the world’s most successful female rowing crews which she uniquely combined with being a Captain in the Royal Regiment of Artillery in the British Army.

Educated at Gordonstoun, Scotland, Stanning  was appointed Head Girl in her final year where amazingly in her school yearbook there was a prediction that she would win an Olympic gold medal.

Whilst in sixth form she gained a British Army scholarship and went on to study Sports Technology at the University of Bath, England. In 2006 Heather was identified and introduced to rowing within Team GB’s ambitious physical profiling ‘Start Programme’ as having the potential attributes to succeed at the London 2012 home Olympic Games. She was also commissioned from Sandhurst into the Royal Artillery in August 2008.

Phenomenally only one year after she started rowing she partnered Olivia Whitlam and won gold at the World Rowing U23 Championships in 2007.  In 2010 and now part of the British Senior Team, Heather was given time away from the army, in order to train for the Olympic’s and was paired with Helen Glover. At 2010 the Senior World Championships  in New Zealand they won silver a remarkable achievement given how recently the crew was formed.  At the 2011 World Championships it was silver again behind the same crew, but the margin of defeat only now 0.08 seconds from gold.

On 1 August 2012 Glover and Stanning won the gold medal in the women’s coxless pairs at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Team GB’s first gold medal of London 2012. It was first ever Olympic gold medal for British women’s rowing.  Heather had a Royal Mail post box painted gold in her home town of Lossiemouth to commemorate the event.

In September 2012 Heather reported back to Larkhill garrison and resumed her British Army career before being posted to Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

‘When I first arrived at Bastion there were quite a few people who knew who I was, or there were quite a few ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’, but within a few weeks that was all forgotten.’

In December 2013 in preparation for the next Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 Heather has been given a second chance to train as a British Army athlete and re-joined the British Rowing Squad. Despite being the reigning Olympic Champion in 2012 her former partner Helen Glover found a new partner in 2013 and won gold with Polly Swann at the 2013 World Rowing Championships.

Since winning the Olympic Gold at London 2012 this combination have been utterly dominate in their event to the extent that other nations know that they are fighting for the minor medals. They were unbeaten heading into the RIO Olympics and successfully defending their Gold medal.


Captain Heather Stanning brings a stunning mix of success in both sport and on the battlefield at the very highest levels. Few Olympic champions have first hand, front line experience of working in hostile environments like Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

Heather extols the virtues of what it takes to be successful in sport but also the reality that success although of a different kind can also be achieved in other places. She is a great example and clear speaker on the importance of teamwork, focus, planning and setting realistic achievable goals.

For many simply meeting and hearing how a normal person became an Olympic champion is a great experience. This is only one part of Heather Stanning’s life which has many more challenges ahead.

Subject to permission from Heather’s supporting employer, the British Army she is available for:

– Question & Answer style speaking engagements
– Event Hosting
– Brand Ambassadorial & Sponsorship Opportunities

Heather was awarded an MBE in 2013 for services to rowing and announced her retirement from international rowing in late 2016 aged 31 years old.

To book Heather Stanning for speaking contact Promotivate Speakers Agency on +44 2078711829 or email: enquiries@pro-motivate.com

  • "With Helen Glover, the boat is on the longest streak of victories in international rowing and it will be a major shock if they don't come back with Olympic Gold from Rio."

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  • Heather Stanning "With Helen Glover, the boat is on the longest streak of victories in international rowing and it will be a major shock if they don't come back with Olympic Gold from Rio."
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