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Going for Gold: World champion shares the story of pursuing her dreams against the odds

Posted on 11/02/2010

Gold medalist Helene Raynsford

Paralympic champion Helene Raynsford, who made history by becoming the first woman to win an Olympic gold in the arms-only single sculls for Great Britain, will share the story of the incredible highs and lows of her journey to Beijing, the challenges she faced and the many lessons learnt along the way in her lecture ‘The Boat and Beyond’ on Thursday 18 February at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Hers is an inspirational story of strength and determination but above all a desire to follow her dreams against the odds.

As a child she attended the Royal Ballet School, but at 17 her promising career as a dancer came to an end after an injury.

She then turned her efforts to studying Medical Biochemistry at Royal Holloway. Five weeks before the start of her final year she suffered a brain injury which left her unable to walk. Helene took up sport as part of her rehabilitation and through it made a recovery not thought possible. She became a member of the British Women’s wheelchair basketball team and won two silver medals in the Paralympic world cup.

In 2005 she set her sights on rowing and went on to win gold in 2008 – the first time rowing was a paralympic sport. The lecture will include a short video from her race in Beijing and an honest account of what it was like to prepare for the games.

Helene, who was made an Honorary Fellow of the College in 2009, is now studying an MSc in Human Neuroscience.

The lecture will take place in the Windsor Building Auditorium at 6pm, and is open to all. No booking is necessary.


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