Praise for GB rowing golden girls

Friends and colleagues of Britain's first gold medallists of the 2012 Games have spoken of their pride in the Olympic champions.

Helen Glover, 26, a former PE teacher from Penzance, Cornwall, had been rowing for only four years before storming to gold with partner Heather Stanning, 27, from Lossiemouth, Moray.

Jean Clow, 71, who taught Glover at Penzance Hockey Club as a youngster, said: "I was there rowing with them, they did amazingly. We have been proud to have the Glover family here. Whatever Helen has done, she has always put every effort into it. She really deserves it."

Stanning is a former pupil of Gordonstoun School in Moray, where Zara Phillips, who won a silver medal in equestrian team eventing on Tuesday, also studied.

Simon Reid, Gordonstoun's principal, said: "Both Heather and Zara have achieved at the highest level in their chosen sport and I am immensely proud of them. To be chosen to represent your country is a huge achievement in itself but to win a medal is the icing on the cake."

Richard Devey, Stanning's PE teacher, said: "Heather was a very powerful all-round, natural athlete and games player. She was very hard-working and always had a huge smile on her face. She still holds some school athletic records.

"As well as being a superb athlete, Heather was guardian (head girl) in her last year at school and was a very valuable member of the school's fire service. It is no surprise to me that she has done so well at the Olympics. She was always destined to go far in the sporting world."

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore watched the race. He said: "Heather and Helen deserve huge admiration from everyone for their dedication and grit in getting across the line first and winning our first gold medal in this Olympics."

Richard Lochhead, MSP for Lossiemouth where Stanning lives, is in London visiting the Olympic Village. He said it is "fantastic" that the rower is one of the duo which won Team GB's first gold medal.

"The preparation and determination required to win is just huge and their top placing is the thoroughly deserved culmination of that. This brilliant news will have folk dancing in the streets of Lossiemouth."