It’s unacceptable that there’s not more coverage of women’s sport – Olympic gold medal winner Kat Copeland

OLYMPIC rower Kat Copeland MBE has officially opened the new boathouse at Yarm School where, as a pupil, she fell in love with the sport and went on to win gold at London 2012.

Now her sights are firmly set on Rio 2016 – this summer she, and Charlotte Taylor, defeated world champions New Zealand, to take gold in the lightweight women’s double skulls final in Varese, Italy.

She talks inspirations, favourite things to do when she’s home in the North-East and why she thinks it’s unacceptable in 2015 that sports like football – unlike rowing – aren’t treated equally for men and women.

IMG_0857How does it feel to be back at your old school?
With the boathouse and the Princess Alexandra Auditorium it looks completely different, it would be incredible to be here now. I’ve very fond memories of our old boathouse, although it was a bit rough and ready.

 

You are an inspiration to many of the pupils here but who did you look up to?
When I was at Yarm School it was a group of boys a couple of years older who were rowers. Now it’s people who I train with day to day, I’m really lucky because I get to train with the GB team.

 

UNVEILING: Kat Copeland MBE officially opened the new £2.5m boathouse at Yarm School, Stockton

UNVEILING: Kat Copeland MBE officially opened the new £2.5m boathouse at Yarm School, Stockton

Women’s rowing is regarded just as highly as men’s which isn’t the case in other sports such as football and cricket, why do you think that is?
To me it’s common sense that sports should be treated equally for men and women. I’m proud that in the sport I do it’s equal where women excel and can do better than men.
There have been tiny steps forward in women’s football but it’s at a snails pace. The women’s world cup was on the telly at 3am. I’ve had the argument quite a few times and I think a lot of it has to do with the media and its coverage.
There needs to be a spotlight on women’s sport so it’s more indepth, there definitely needs to be more coverage on tv to make it equal. It’s unacceptable in this day and age that it’s not.

What make the boathouse so special

The £2.5m structure on stilts on the banks of the River Tees can house up to a dozen boats and is linked to a viewing gallery with a full-sized floodlit all-weather sports pitch for hockey and tennis.

Yarm School headmaster David Dunn said at the unveiling that he wouldn’t be surprised if its innovative and ecological architecture won a design award.

Hidden from sight under the Astroturf are tanks able to hold up to 180,000 cubic litres of water to help protect the town which has a history of flooding  every century. 

 

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IMG_0858What do you do on a day off from rowing?
I usually just get Sundays off, but even then I might have a training session. I try to do as little as possible, I don’t even like walking very far. Because the margins are so small at the top, it’s about who can train the most and recover quickly. I like spending time with my friends and boyfriend who don’t row, and I like to go to the pictures.

AUTOGRAPH: Kat Copeland signed by set of stamps printed when she won gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games

AUTOGRAPH: Kat Copeland signed my set of stamps issued when she won gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games

What are your favourite things to do when you return home to the North-East?
I always go to the Cleveland Hills with my dad as they have two dogs, I like to go to Sandsend beach (near Whitby), the closest beach to where I live is Brighton but it isn’t the same and I go back to Tees Rowing Club to catch up with people there.
I grew up in Ingleby Barwick, Stockton, but my parents moved to Stokesley in North-Yorkshire when I was 21 and there’s a tea room called Lotti’s that serves cakes and really, really good cups of tea.
To shop I go into Middlesbrough and I always visit Lazy Joe’s which sells t-shirts and I take a lot back with me. One of my favourites has Middlesbrough as the Hollywood sign, I train in them and they remind me of home.

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