Team GB women rowers 'avoid public gyms like the plague' revealing men ‘mansplain’ rowing and compete against them

9 April 2024, 15:47 | Updated: 9 April 2024, 15:54

Team GB women rowers forced to 'avoid' public gyms after men ‘mansplain’ rowing and compete against them
Team GB women rowers forced to 'avoid' public gyms after men ‘mansplain’ rowing and compete against them. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle De Wolfe

Two of Great Britain's top female rowers have revealed the perils of being a professional female athlete, including that men regularly ‘mansplain’ rowing to them.

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Imogen Grant, 28, and Emily Craig, 31, who make up Great Britain's lightweight double sculls duo, have revealed the frequency with which men compete against them in public gyms.

It comes despite the fact both are top flight professional athletes, with the pair currently in training at British Rowing’s Caversham headquarters ahead of this summer's Paris Olympic Games.

Grant has revealed that on one particular occasion, while training with a friend, a guy approached her training partner and said, "You’d be able to keep going for longer if you don’t go so hard.”

The news follows golf pro Georgia Ball’s recent viral video, in which a man at the same driving range felt the need to mansplain the technicalities of her swing - despite the golf star being a PGA pro.

Team GB women rowers forced to 'avoid' public gyms after men ‘mansplain’ rowing and compete against them
Team GB women rowers forced to 'avoid' public gyms after men ‘mansplain’ rowing and compete against them. Picture: Alamy

“One of my friends was doing intervals on the ergo [rowing machine],” Grant explained in a recent interview with the Telegraph.

“Six sets of 500 metres, something like that, with pauses in between. A guy came up to her and said, ‘You’d be able to keep going for longer if you don’t go so hard’.”

“I’ve not had anything as bad as that,” says Craig. “But there have been instances of unsolicited coaching. To which I’m, like, ‘Sorry?’ Sometimes I get, ‘What’s your peak performance?’ But I don’t really know how to answer that.”

It comes ahead of the Paris Olympics, which are set to take place at venues across France between 26 July and 11 August 2024.

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Grant, who is 5ft 6in tall, has revealed that "gym bros" double her size regularly attempt to compete against her.

"They sit down, peek over at my split time, and double their speed for a couple of minutes trying to match it," she explains.

"Then they’ll get off and the next guy has a go."

Grant, who is 5ft 6in tall, has revealed that "gym bros" double her size regularly attempt to compete against her.
Grant, who is 5ft 6in tall, has revealed that "gym bros" double her size regularly attempt to compete against her. Picture: Alamy

"That’s why I avoid public gyms like the plague," she adds.

"I much prefer the atmosphere in a rowing club.”

The pair, who placed forth at the Tokyo Olympics, now have their sights firmly set on gold in Paris.

Paris will be the curtain call for lightweight rowing, with the discipline replaced by beach sprints at the Los Angeles games in 2028.

Considered a more diverse variant of the sport, the discipline will include traditionally under-represented nations such as Tunisia, given it does not require a rowing lake.

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