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The GB Rowing Team is the high performance arm of British Rowing. Rowing is the nation’s most continuously successful Olympic sport, having won a gold medal in every Olympic Games since 1984, and has won six Paralympic golds since the sport was introduced to the Paralympic Games programme in 2008.
GB Rowing Team
Rower // Women's Squad Date of Birth: 30th Nov 1987 (34 years old)
Club: Leander Height: 192.00 Hometown: Wrexham
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Olympic silver-medallist Vicky Thornley has come through the GB Rowing Team Start programme to establish herself as one of the country’s leading scullers.
Victoria Thornley is a former equestrian rider and model who was the first graduate of the Sporting Giants talent identification scheme to win a medal when she struck gold at the 2009 World U23 Championships.
Thornley came through British Rowing’s World Class Start programme, which takes individuals with no prior rowing experience and trains them to become potential Olympic champions.
She went on to race with the women’s eight at London 2012 before winning an Olympic silver medal alongside Katherine Grainger in the women’s double scull after an outstanding performance at Rio 2016.
In 2017, Thornley was crowned European champion in the single scull and later won World Championships silver in the same discipline to cap off a stellar first season in the Tokyo 2020 Olympiad.
To find out more about Victoria visit her website at www.victoriathornley.com.
The former equestrian rider and model was the first graduate of the Sporting Giants talent identification scheme to win a medal
©Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images
Rio de Janeiro - Olympic Silver Medallist Women's Double Scull
European Bronze Medallist Women's Double Scull
Olympic Finalist Women's Eight
World Bronze Medallist Women's Eight
World U23 Champion Women's Eight
Vicky was once again selected in the women’s double scull alongside Katherine Grainger at the start of the 2016 season, finishing fourth at the European Championships in Brandenburg. After a break from the double, they finished fifth at the World Cup in Poznan before finding their form when it mattered most – at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Runners-up in both their heat and semi-final, Vicky and Katherine produced their best performance yet in a magnificent final. Taking the race to their rivals, they led for 1,800m and were only passed by Poland in the dying stages of an epic contest.
Vicky, who has won the women’s single scull final at the last three GB Rowing Team Senior Trials, was also selected in the women’s double alongside the returning Katherine for the 2015 season.
They got off to a solid start by winning bronze at the European Championships in Poznan. Vicky moved to the stroke seat for the World Cup in Varese, where a strong finish earned the double another bronze medal.
Vicky and Katherine unfortunately missed out on a place in the A final at the World Cup in Lucerne but responded by winning the B final comfortably.
After ensuring they had qualified the boat for Rio 2016 by reaching the World Championships final in Aiguebelette, Vicky and Katherine adopted a ‘medal or bust’ approach and were well placed at halfway but were rowed out of contention in the final 150m.
Vicky started the Olympiad by contesting both the women’s eight and the double scull with Beth Rodford at the Sydney World Cup, finishing fourth in both. She switched to the single scull for the rest of 2013, placing fourth at Eton Dorney and tenth in Lucerne before taking seventh spot at the World Championships in Chungju.
The 2014 season saw Vicky and Frances Houghton finish fifth in the women’s double at both the European Championships in Belgrade and World Cup in Aiguebelette. When Frances had to withdraw from the Lucerne World Cup on medical grounds, Vicky raced in the single scull and was again fifth. She remained in the single for the World Championships in Amsterdam, placing eighth overall.
Vicky started the London Olympiad as a fresh recruit to the GB Rowing Team Start Programme at the University of Bath, having been identified as a potential champion through UK Sport’s Sporting Giants talent scheme.
She made rapid progress and, in an outstanding GB Rowing Team debut, won gold with the women’s eight at the 2009 World U23 Championships in Racice.
Vicky made the step up to the senior squad in 2010 as part of a women’s eight that won World Cup gold in Bled, silver in Munich and bronze in Lucerne. They went on to finish fourth at the World Championships in New Zealand.
She started 2011 in the single scull, finishing ninth at the Munich World Cup, before returning to the eight for the rest of the season. They finished fourth at the Lucerne World Cup before gaining a well-earned bronze medal at the World Championships in Bled.
The 2012 season saw Vicky selected in the women’s quad with Beth Rodford, Melanie Wilson and Frances Houghton for the World Cups in Belgrade and Lucerne, finishing third and fifth respectively. She was back in the eight for the Munich World Cup, winning a bronze medal, and stayed in the boat for the London 2012 Olympic Games, where GB finished fifth.
Boat: Women’s Squad
Coaches: Paul Reedy
Learnt to Row: Minerva Bath
Original Club(s): Minerva Bath
Original Coach(es): Paul Stannard, Ade Roberts, Nick Strange, Jane Hall
Vicky was no stranger to international sport when she started her rowing career, having represented Wales at show-jumping during her teenage years. She also competed at the Horse of the Year Show before concentrating on her education.
She started a degree in Business Management but decided to leave University so that she could pursue her rowing ambitions. She is now studying for a Diploma in Sporting Excellence and is a qualified fitness instructor and personal trainer. She would also like to study French part-time in the future.
Vicky did some modelling during a gap year in 2006 before getting into rowing the following year when her mother spotted an advert for the UK Sport Sporting Giants scheme. Vicky applied and, after being identified as a potential rowing champion, was put on British Rowing’s World Class Start programme at the University of Bath, where she developed under the guidance of head coach Paul Stannard.
Away from the boat, she enjoys snowboarding, spending time with her friends, watching films and shopping.
Katherine Grainger received the Olympian's Olympian award at Team GB's inaugural Awards dinner last night held at Battersea Evolution in London.
When Vicky Thornley and Katherine Grainger crossed the finish line in their double scull final today they not only won a silver of Goliathan proportions but propelled Grainger into the all-time records books.
"This is the Olympic Games, it's what every elite athlete trains so hard for and like all elite athletes we hate losing", that's how Mark Hunter summed up the motivation that he and Zac Purchase felt in the final quarter of their lightweight men's double scull heat today.