Stamp honour for Golden Scot Stanning as she helps GB to first Olympic gold


By a Newsnet reporter

Scotland’s Heather Stanning and her English partner Helen Glover have won the first gold medal for Great Britain in the London Olympics, and are to be commemorated on an official Royal Mail stamp.

The duo made history when they crossed the line first in the final of the women’s coxless pairs rowing event and became the first women rowers ever to win gold for the UK.

The historic win is to be commemorated by a new Royal Mail stamp that will be available to purchase by lunchtime tomorrow.

The pair ended a four day wait for a team GB gold and congratulations flooded in for the Lossiemouth born athlete, who is a serving army officer, and her partner.

After the race Stanning, who was born in Lossiemouth, Moray, said: “I’m absolutely shattered and ecstatic at the same time.  I want to collapse I’m so overjoyed.  We’ve got out ahead throughout the season and we wanted to do that today, and not give anything back.  Helen was telling me to keep on going.  Thanks for all the support in Afghanistan, I’m so proud to be associated with you.”

Helen Glover said: “I don’t even remember smiling as I never ever thought we’ve got it.  If I can do it, take the chance, in not just rowing, but anything.”

Mary Stanning, Heather’s mother, said: “It was quite surreal when we realised the girls had won gold.  We didn’t take anything for granted until they were over the line, because people have lost titles after being in the lead before.  But the noise around us when they won, it was manic.  I think you can safely say we were all pretty excited!

“I was brought back to earth a bit when I managed to drop my ticket while we were going to the medal ceremony and, after leaving my seating area to look for it, the chap on the gate wouldn’t let me back in.  I told him I was the mother of one of the women who had just won Britain’s first gold medal, but he had his procedures to follow and he told me: ‘No ticket, no entry.’

“We got it sorted out, though, and nothing could take the gloss over what was a fantastic day for all of us.  It’s still sinking in, but Heather and Helen and their coach, Robin [Williams], have worked so hard for this success you can’t feel anything but a huge amount of pride in what they have achieved.”

Local Moray MSP Richard Lochhead, and MP, Angus Robertson, offered their congratulations to the duo.

Mr Lochhead, who is in London visiting the Olympic Village on behalf of the Scottish Government today, said:

“It is just fantastic that a local Lossie quine has been part of the duo that has won Team GB’s first gold medal.  The preparation and determination required to win is just huge and the their top placing is the thoroughly deserved culmination of that.  This brilliant news will have folk dancing in the streets of Lossiemouth!”

Moray MP Angus Robertson said:

“To have a local Moray quine winning Olympic Gold is a massive inspiration to our youngsters involved in so many sports.  It is the greatest sporting achievement and the duo have delivered the best possible result.”

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “I couldn’t be more delighted that Helen Glover and Heather Stanning have won the first gold medal for Team GB. Here’s to many more.”

Scots sports minister Shona Robison said: “What a fantastic achievement for Heather and Helen to bring home Team GB’s first gold medal in such emphatic style.  I have no doubt that the people of her home town of Lossiemouth will be leading the nationwide celebrations of this brilliant victory.”

The gold was followed by another later on when Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins triumphed in his time–trial road race.  The Englishman becomes the UK’s most successful ever Olympian with his seven medal tally, that includes four golds.

Scottish swimmer Michael Jamieson just missed out on a gold in the final of the 200 metres breast stroke.  The Glasgow swimmer, who was bidding to emulate fellow Scot David Wilkie who took gold in the same event in Montreal in 1976, took silver just behind Hungarian Daniel Gyurta, who broke the world record.

Speaking after his race, Jamieson told the BBC: “I am so delighted.  I knew I had a little bit more to give.  It’s so much easier with the crowd behind you.

“I’ve had so many messages it has been unbelievable.  I was desperate to get on the podium to repay them.

“I know how strong his last 50 is.  I tried to stay on his shoulder for the first 100.  I just gave everything for the last 50.”

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