The GB women’s rowing team a went through endless seat-racing, squad members contracting hepatitis on training camp, and a “desperate and exhausting” selection battle between two scullers for the singles slot in the run up to the 1980 Olympics – only the second Games to include women’s rowing.
After all that they were nearly prevented from competing when Margaret Thatcher called for a boycott of the Games in protest at the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. But they were allowed to go in the end, and GB women’s rowing took its next big step when the eight and sculler Beryl Mitchell qualified for our first finals.
Liz McVeigh and Penny Vincent-Sweet were two of the eight in Moscow. Although they stopped rowing internationally after that, both have continued to be involved in the wider world of rowing at their clubs in Rochester and Grenoble. And if you’re at Henley Women’s Regatta, you can spot Liz keeping everyone happy in the Friends’ area.