Sport

Forces Olympic Hero Heather Stanning Honoured At Buckingham Palace

The double Olympic champion and British Army Major has been at Buckingham Palace to receive an OBE...

Double Olympic champion and British Army Major Heather Stanning has been at Buckingham Palace to receive an OBE.

The soldier-athlete has been off the international scene for the last 11 months after announcing her retirement but was being recognised for her past services to rowing.

Following back to back golds at London 2012 and Rio 2016, she decided to return to the Army full-time. She said of the decision:

"It's kind of strange thinking that actually, I'm not just here for a couple of years, I'm here for... a career. And I'm not thinking about when do I [need to] go back to training either... It's nice."

Heather and her rowing partner Helen Glover, alongside their coach Robin Williams, were appointed MBEs in April 2013.

A winning combination on the water, they remain the best of friends and have even been taking to the water in some very different vessels. Just click above to find out more...

Heather Stanning Olympic gold & Afghanistan medal
Major Stanning received an Operational Service Medal after returning from a six-month tour in Afghanistan, shortly after winning Olympic gold

As well as managing her Army career, it's no surprise that Heather's been keen to keep her fitness up too. She added:

"I've definitely wanted to try to stay as fit as possible. I think every week that's goes by that I'm not full-time training I realise I'm getting less and less fit and it's slightly upsetting, but I just need to get over that!"

Major Stanning says she's been enjoying taking part in new pursuits, like endurance races, swimming and events like the London Marathon and RideLondon, as well as being able to take part in them with friends and family instead of on her own:

"It doesn't [have to be all about performance] for me any more. It's very much about participation... I'm reminding myself why I like sport so much."

The Princess Royal was on hand to bestow the honours at the Palace.

With her involvement with Team GB and the British Olympic Association, Princess Anne is already a familiar face to most athletes and drew high praise from Major Stanning:

"She's lovely and always says lovely words to me... It was a real honour to get the award today from her."

More: 17 British Sports Stars You Didn't Know Served In The Military