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The GB Rowing Team is the high performance arm of British Rowing. Rowing is the nation’s most continuously successful Olympic sport, having won a gold medal in every Olympic Games since 1984, and has won six Paralympic golds since the sport was introduced to the Paralympic Games programme in 2008.
GB Rowing Team
Rower // Women's Squad Date of Birth: 5th Feb 1989 (34 years old)
Club: Leander Club Height: 179.00 Hometown: Edinburgh
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Karen Bennett ended her first full season in the GB Rowing Team's senior ranks in memorable style - by winning an historic silver medal with the women's eight at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Bennett is a graduate from the British Rowing World Class Start programme. She won silver in the women’s four at the 2015 World Championships before establishing herself in the eight boat for 2016.
A world university gold-medallist in 2014, Bennett is also a European champion and will be looking to build on her successful season during the Tokyo Olympiad.
Her 2017 season has started well, winning gold in the women’s pair with Holly Norton at the opening World Cup in Belgrade, following it up with a bronze at the European Championships in Racice. Bennett returned to the eight for the second World Cup, winning silver in Poznan and, after a brief return to the pair for Lucerne, Bennett was selected in the eight for the 2017 World Championships, finishing fifth.
Karen earned selection for the women's eight in 2016, helping to secure Olympic silver and European gold in a historic season
©Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images
Olympic Silver Medalist Women's Eight
European Champion Women's Eight
World Silver Medallist Women's Four
World University Champion Women's Four
After impressing in training and trials throughout the winter, Bennett was selected for the women’s eight at the start of the 2016 season and helped to secure an eye-catching gold at the European Championships in Brandenburg, with GB surging through to take the victory in a perfectly judged race.
Another thrilling late push at the Lucerne World Cup saw the GB eight go mighty close to overhauling the Olympic and world champions from the United States. They won silver again at the World Cup in Poznan, this time behind New Zealand.
No British women’s eight had ever won an Olympic medal but Bennett and her crew-mates ended that wait at Rio 2016 as they took silver in a photo finish after an epic race, featuring another trademark surge through the field in the second half.
Bennett was selected for the senior GB Rowing Team for the first time in 2014 as part of the women’s eight that competed at the Windermere Cup in Seattle.
She also represented Britain at the 2014 World University Rowing Championships in Gravelines, France, teaming up with Becca Chin, Pippa Whittaker and Michelle Vezie to win women’s four gold with a dominant performance.
In 2015, Bennett finished sixth with Katherine Douglas in the women’s pair at the GB Rowing Team Senior and U23 Truials. She was given another chance to impress at the Essen Regatta in Germany, and she took it with both hands, winning dougle gold with Chin in the women’s pair. The same partnership competed as a second GB pair at the World Cups in Varese and Lucerne, finishing tenth in both.
Bennett and Chin were then selected alongside Lucinda Gooderham and Holly Norton for a women’s four at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, where they won an impressive silver medal.
Bennett was a member of the women’s eight that finished fifth at the 2011 World Rowing U23 Championships in Amsterdam.
Club: Leander Club
Boat: Women’s Squad
Coaches: Jane Hall
Learnt to Row: Heart of Scotland BC at Strathclyde Park
Original Club(s): Heart of Scotland BC
Original Coach(es): Lee Boucher
A part-time rowing coach, Bennett studied Sports Rehabilitation at St Mary’s University in London and developed her talent with the GB Rowing Team Start programme in Glasgow.
She is Lottery funded through UK Sport.
Olympic medallist Karen Bennett and a host of potential Tokyo 2020 stars were among the winners during an action-packed weekend of racing at the British Rowing Senior Championships in Nottingham.
Rio 2016 Olympic champion Scott Durant and silver-medalist Karen Bennett will be among the thousands of competitors at the 2016 British Rowing Senior Championships, taking place in Nottingham this Saturday and Sunday.
As Women's Sport Week 2016 concludes, aspiring Olympians Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne and Holly Hill tell us how the GB Rowing Team Start programme is helping them fulfil their potential.
As Women's Sport Week continues, Karen Bennett tells us how she is using her Rio experience to inspire the next generation.