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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: 25th Jun 1984 (38 years old)
Club: Imperial College Boat Club Height: 183.00 Hometown: London
Melanie Wilson made the switch from sculling to sweep in 2016 and saw that move pay dividends as she won a historic silver medal with the women's eight at the Rio Olympic Games.
Melanie Wilson made her second appearance on the Olympic stage in Rio, having finished sixth with the women’s quadruple scull at London 2012.
Melanie made her GB Rowing Team debut in 2009, the same year she started reading Medicine at Imperial College, and qualified as a Doctor in 2015.
Melanie was part of the first-ever GB women's eight to win both an Olympic medal and European title in 2016
©Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images
Olympic Silver Medalist Women's Eight
European Champion Women's Eight
Olympic Finalist Women's Quadruple Scull
Melanie switched from sculling to sweep for the 2016 season and earned selection for the women’s eight. She 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 and they won silver again at the World Cup in Poznan, this time behind New Zealand.
No British women’s eight had won an Olympic medal before but Melanie and her crew-mates ended that wait at Rio 2016 as they took silver in a photo-finish after an epic race that featured another trademark surge through the field in the second half.
Melanie returned to the GB Rowing Team in 2015 after taking a year out to focus on her studies. She spent the season in the women’s quadruple scull and finished just two-tenths of a second shy of a medal at the European Championships in Poznan.
The quad were seventh and sixth at the Varese and Lucerne World Cup respectively before finishing eighth at the World Championships in Aiguebelette, narrowly missing out on qualifying the boat for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the first attempt.
Melanie had started the Olympiad in the single scull, winning the B final at the Eton Dorney World Cup, before switching to the eight for the rest of 2013. The crew finished fourth at both the World Cup in Lucerne and World Championships in Chungju.
March 2009 was a key month for Melanie as she was accepted onto a Medical degree course at Imperial College – and selected for the GB Rowing Team. She made her debut at the World Championships later that year, helping the eight to fifth place in Poznan.
The following season saw Melanie finish tenth in the single scull at the Bled World Cup and travel to the World Championships in New Zealand as a spare but 2011 proved to be her breakthrough year.
An injury to Anna Watkins led to Melanie partnering Katherine Grainger to double scull gold at the World Cup in Munich. She then moved into the quad and won silver at the Lucerne World Cup before finishing seventh at the World Championships in Bled.
Melanie raced in the quad throughout 2012 and won bronze medals at both the Belgrade and Munich World Cups. She was selected for her first Olympic Games and finished sixth at London 2012 alongside Frances Houghton, Debbie Flood and Beth Rodford.
Club: Imperial College Boat Club
Boat: Women’s Squad
Coaches: Paul Thompson, Robin Williams
Learnt to Row: University of London
Original Club(s): University of London Boat Club
Original Coach(es): Nathan Williams, Brendan Boreham
Melanie grew up in Hong Kong but moved to the UK so that she could go to University in Nottingham, where she studied for a BSc in Biochemistry. After University she worked in a research laboratory in Kenya before moving to London to start her medical studies.
She is a keen sportswoman and previously spent a lot of her time swimming and playing water polo. She also enjoys cycling.
Melanie is Lottery Funded through UK Sport.
At the start of Women's Sports Week 2016, we look back at 40 years of women's rowing in the Olympic Games plus milestone moments for GB at the Paralympics.
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The Rio Olympic Games opens tomorrow and rowing will be take place at one of the Games' iconic venues