Fie Udby Erichsen of Denmark, stepped away from rowing after winning a silver medal in the women's single sculls at the London 2012 Olympic Games. She then reappeared earlier this year at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland.

The two years following the London Olympics have been an adventurous period for the charismatic Erichsen. After London, Erichsen became pregnant and had to reorganize her training accordingly. “Leading up to the Olympics I trained around 14 times a week but after I got pregnant I could not train as frequently and after 26 weeks (pregnant), I trained around 3-5 days a week,” says Erichsen, who admits that it became increasingly difficult to do the same exercises as usual. “At a time my stomach became too big so I could only complete the stroke with 5-10 per cent of my usual power, I could not put pressure on my legs and I could not really tighten my muscles."

After giving birth to Thor in May last year, Erichsen decided to quit her job as client consultant for a financial institution. At the same time she moved away from the national rowing training centre in Copenhagen to her home town in Hobro, a small town of only 10,000 inhabitants, along with her husband, Rene.

“It was a good decision. I wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle in Copenhagen and here I have my parents and parents-in-law who can help take care of Thor. Before I had my work to take my mind off rowing, now I have my son,” says Erichsen, who makes sure she gets to see her family as much as possible. “Earlier I would spend a lot of time showering and cleaning the boat. I never do that anymore. I just want to get home to see my family,” she says.

Erichsen reestablished her training regime and started to regain rowing fitness with the aim of racing in 2014. Her return to international action in Lucerne did not go unnoticed. She earned ninth overall and at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam she finished eleventh in the women's single. But Erichsen says  this is just one step and she has every intention of re-establishing herself as a dominant figure in the women's single.

“My goal is to take gold at the Rio Olympics. That is what I am working towards," says Erichsen. "But at the moment, with the form I am in, I know that that is not realistic, so therefore I have some split goals I need to achieve before I can dream about winning gold in Rio. At the World championships in Aiguebelette next year my goal is to take a medal but I don´t want to get ahead of myself," says Erichsen who admits that this year's racing taught her a lot about what she needed to do.

"I have two years to reach my target and I have a game-plan that I am following very closely.”

Copy thanks to Svend Bertil Frandsen