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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 // Lightweight Women's Squad Date of Birth: 1st Dec 1990 (32 years old)
Club: Leander Club Height: 172.00 Hometown: Ingleby Barwick Stockton-on-Tees
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Katherine Copeland had only been in the senior GB Rowing Team squad for two seasons when she and Sophie Hosking won their historical medal, the first Olympic title ever for the GB lightweight women’s squad.
Copeland’s look of wide-eyed disbelief after winning Olympic lightweight women’s double scull gold was one of the most memorable images of London 2012.
Copeland is a product of British Rowing World Class Start, the ground-breaking talent identification and development initiative supported by National Lottery funding.
In the first World Cup of 2017 at Belgrade, Copeland teamed up with Charlotte Booth (née Taylor) to take silver in the lightweight women’s doubles. She partnered Emily Craig for the remainder of the season, with the highlight being a bronze medal at the European Championships in Racice.
Kat Copeland had only been in the senior GB Rowing Team squad for two seasons when she and Sophie Hosking won their historical medal, the first Olympic title ever for the GB lightweight women’s squad
©Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images
World Silver Medallist - Lightweight Women's Double
European Champion - Lightweight Women's Double
European Bronze Medallist - Lightweight Women's Double
Olympic Champion - Lightweight Women's Double
World U23 Champion - Lightweight Women's Single
After finishing runner-up at the GB Rowing Team Trials, Copeland was once again selected in the lightweight women’s double scull along with Booth, for the 2016 season. They were not at their best at the European Championships in Brandenburg and had to settle for seventh place overall. They then missed the World Cups in Lucerne and Poznan before finishing a frustrating season by placing 14th overall at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The duo had gone into the Olympic year on the back of an encouraging 2015, which saw them crowned as European Champions and win silver at the World Rowing Championships.
The new lightweight women’s double scull partnership got off to a flying start as they produced a dominant performance to win gold at the European Championships in Poznan, Poland.
They followed that up by setting a new world’s best time in the semi-finals at the Varese World Cup, then pipped New Zealand on the line in a thrilling final the following day.
After a fourth-place finish in Lucerne, they were back in good form at the World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette and gave the defending champions from New Zealand a major scare with another late surge. They eventually had to settle for silver, just half a length down.
Copeland took a year out from rowing after her London 2012 success and returned to the squad in 2014, partnering Imogen Walsh. After starting the season with European Championships bronze, they won World Cup gold in Aiguebelette and Lucerne.
However, there was disappointment at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam as Copeland and Walsh lost out in a rush of four boats to the line in their semi-final. They responded by winning the B final in a world best time!
Copeland’s historic gold medal at London 2012 was the culmination of a rapid rise through the GB Rowing Team ranks.
A graduate of British Rowing World Class Start based in Tees, she first represented her country at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in 2007 and won gold with the women’s quad. She returned the following year and claimed the women’s single sculls title.
She won gold in the quad and bronze in the lightweight double at the 2009 Australian Youth Olympic festival and has also competed at three successive World U23 Championships.
Copeland narrowly missed out on a lightweight women’s single sculls medal in 2009 and was then sixth in the lightweight women’s double the following year before returning to the single to claim a convincing victory in 2011.
Copeland rowed in the same boat class at the senior World Rowing Championships later that year and progressed to the A final, finishing fifth.
After placing first in the lightweight women’s single sculls at the 2012 GB Rowing Team Senior Trials, she was selected for the Olympic class double scull with Sophie Hosking. After a silver medal in Belgrade, they finished fifth and fourth in the next two World Cups to go into the London Games as medal contenders. On what became known as Super Saturday, they finished two seconds clear of the field to claim Olympic gold – one of six won by Team GB that day. Both athletes were awarded MBEs in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list.
Club: Leander Club
Boat: Lightweight Women’s Squad
Coaches: Paul Reedy
Learnt to Row: Yarm School Boat Club
Original Club(s): Yarm School Boat Club & Tees Rowing Club
Original Coach(es): Andy Clark, James Harris
Copeland was 14 when she first learnt to row at Yarm School, which has produced a number of GB juniors in the past few years.
She enjoys cooking – “I own about 100 cookbooks” – and her ideal dinner companions would be her parents and boyfriend Alex. She went on a road trip around the southern states of the US with him in 2014 and is now into country music, with her favourites being the Time Jumpers, Taylor Swift, Queen B and Hozier.
The trip also inspired Kat to watch Nashville, with her other current favourite TV shows being Game of Thrones and First Date. Her film picks are Australia, Up! and The Notebook – “Sorry but it really is good!”.
She enjoys anything home-cooked made by her mum or Omar, the chef at Caversham. “He makes amazing food – my favourites of his are sticky lamb flatbreads, or a steak salad with poached pear and chilli oil.”
Finally, she owns a pug called Doug and is Lottery funded through UK Sport.