In the fourth episode of season four of the Her Spirit podcast Louise Minchin and BBC Triathlon presenter Annie Emmerson talk to World, European & Two Time Paralympic Rowing Champion Lauren Rowles.
Lauren’s remarkable journey began in 2012 at the age of 13 when she woke up one morning paralysed from the waist down. From there She spent the following eight months in hospitals and rehabilitation units trying to regain the use of her legs. Despite being left physically impaired from Transverse Myelitis, Lauren was determined to make it as an Olympic athlete she had dreamed of as a young girl.
Lauren began her career as an elite athlete aged just 14 after she was inspired by the London 2012 Paralympic Games. She quickly found a talent in wheelchair track racing and she soon represented Great Britain on the international stage, including the Commonwealth Games and Junior World Championships. Lauren transitioned from Athletics to Rowing in 2015 after being scouted by the British Rowing Team and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Five months after she took her first stroke, Lauren won a silver medal at the Senior World Rowing Championships and qualified her boat for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio the following year.
Lauren made her mark on the global sporting stage after winning a Paralympic gold medal at the Rio 2016 Games at the age of just 18. Subsequently, Lauren was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List for her services to Rowing and has been nominated for several prestigious awards, including the BBC’s Young Sports Personality of the Year.
Despite the challenges of near career ending injuries and a global pandemic, Lauren has claimed both the World and European titles. Most recently she has returned from the Tokyo as Two Time Paralympic Champion, defending her 2016 title over a new race distance. Looking forward, Lauren hopes to continue building her legacy in sport and changing perceptions around disability and the LGBT community.
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