As crowds at the Olympic lake in Eton Dorney erupted in cheers, Glover and Stanning appeared both ecstatic and tearful, beaming and wiping away tears as the national anthem was played and the union jack hoisted.

The rowing pair won their race by a clear margin, leaving silver medalists Australia and bronze winners New Zealdn far in their wake.

So who are the British champions?

Helen Glover

Glover, 26, from Truro in Cornwall, began rowing in 2008 and was soon placed on the GB Rowing Team’s Start programme in Bath as coaches recognised her talent.

In 2011, along with teammate Heather Stanning, Glover began a winning spree, taking the British rowing trials, the world cup, Munich and Lucerne regattas a silver medal in the 2011 World Championships in Bled, Slovenia.

Glover was a keen cross-country runner and hockey player, competing internationally, before turning her head to study and gaining a teaching qualification.

Heather Stanning

Stanning, 27, was born in Yeovil, and didn’t take up rowing until she was 19. She was rapidly snapped up in a rowing talent scheme but ditched the oars to focus on her career in the army.

Before the regatta, Sandhurst-trained Stanning said she would return to the army after the Olympics, with a posting in Afghanistan a possibility.

Stanning told The Sun: “The Army training has given me determination and toughness. A year at Sandhurst – you don’t just float through that. It has shaped me as a person and helped me to get where I am.”