Rebecca Openshaw-Rowe is a multi-sport international in rowing, rugby, swimming and surf lifesaving. She grew up in South Wales and started her sporting career as a swimmer who competed for Wales a number of times as a teenager. She went on to study and swim at university before swapping sports for rowing. She rowed for Great Britain during 2005 and 2008, competed in the Rugby World Cup in 2017 and also three Six Nations Championships for Wales. She has also won two world championships in ‘surf life saving‘ and held the world, European and Commonwealth record for her event for 3 years. Tragically, Rebecca’s sporting career was cut short due to a multiple ligament rupture in her knee after playing a game for Harlequins.
In January 2024 Rebecca completed an expedition to the South Pole (745 miles) with no assistance and in temperatures as low as -50 degrees, pioneering a new route 1230km long. The expedition took her and team mate, Georgina, as the team ‘Antarctic Fire Angels’ 52 days, 10 hours and 30 minutes. The route saw them start at Union glacier in West Antarctica, via Constellation Inlet and finish at the South Pole. They carried their own food and equipment which weighed more than 100kg (15st 7lb) each. The documentary on their story airs on the 26th of February at 9pm on ITV Wales and ITVX.
From playing international sport to working in typically male dominated environments, Rebecca has vast experience of gender stereotyping. At the age of 37 she became a firefighter, fulfilling a lifelong ambition. She is an amazing role model to women everywhere. Whatever the gender, her incredible story is an inspiration to all.