STACK Interview: Olympic Rower Susan Francia, Part 1

October 29, 2010

Must See Motivation Videos

 

 

STACK has the privilege of teaming up with elite athletes all across the globe. We get the lowdown on the latest trends in training, nutrition and style, and we deliver this exclusive content directly to you. Today, we learn how rower Susan Francia went from “Most Spirited” in high school to Olympic gold medalist. Be sure to check out Part 2 of the interview as well.

Standing 6'2" tall in high school, Francia had her pick of the litter when it came to playing sports. She was a basketball coach’s dream, an opposing volleyball player's nightmare. So it’s only logical that Francia eventually discovered her athletic passion as part of an 58-foot boat crew, right?

STACK recently caught up with the 2008 Olympic gold medalist before she defends her World Rowing Championship in the women’s pair division, starting this weekend through Nov. 7.

STACK: Rowing is a popular high school sport, but it wasn’t so common a few years back. What sports did you play as a prep athlete?

Susan Francia: I actually did field hockey, which is kind of amusing for a six-foot-two girl. I wasn’t very good, but I had fun.

STACK: Was it difficult to live up to expectations of being an extraordinarily gifted athlete?

SF: For me, it was fun and it was exercise and I was part of the team. Not being the top athlete, it was great to have people to encourage me and bring me up. And I was also very supportive of my teammates.

[When I speak at high schools,] I always take this trophy with me. It was the only athletic award I received in my senior year of high school. It was for “Most Spirited.”

STACK: How did you get started in rowing?

SF: My freshman year at the [University of Pennsylvania], I decided to stick with academics and try to do very well academically. Unfortunately, without sports, I had no time management skills. My grades really suffered and I was doing varsity socializing instead.

My sophomore year...I was considering track and field and doing the heptathlon. I went to the first meeting, and they said we were going to run six miles to go cheer on the cross country team. I said "no, thank you." That was the end of my track career.

The other option to walk on to a team was rowing. I went to the very first meeting, and the girls just stared at me, saying "you’re going to be awesome!" Now who doesn’t want to hear that?

STACK: Why all the excitement upon your arrival?

SF: They thought I had potential. [laughs] That word “potential”—I’d been hearing it all throughout high school...so it was awesome to find something where I could finally live up to my potential.

STACK: What surprised you most about the sport?

SF: One of the things I learned in rowing that I wished I had learned earlier was really pushing myself. I thought I was going hard and being tough [back in high school], but looking back on it I laugh, because I really wasn’t.

Be sure to check back for Part 2 of our interview.

Photo:  Courtesy of Boathouse Sports

Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 152,830
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,502
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,268,862
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,536,765
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,144,153
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 896,437
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,256
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,332

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Meet Tomorrow’s U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Goalies

Meet Tomorrow's U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Goalies

How Marcus Mariota Got Ready for the NFL Draft

How Marcus Mariota Got Ready for the NFL Draft

13 Things to Love About Steph Curry

13 Things to Love About Steph Curry

Labor of Love: Kevin Love's Lifelong Drive for a Championship

Labor of Love: Kevin Love's Lifelong Drive for a Championship

Defending Matthew Dellavedova: 7 Reasons Why Delly Isn't Dirty

Defending Matthew Dellavedova: 7 Reasons Why Delly Isn't Dirty

NFL Draft Prospects Get Pumped With the Reebok ZPUMP Fusion

NFL Draft Prospects Get Pumped With the Reebok ZPUMP Fusion

How Skylar Diggins Became the Future of the WNBA

How Skylar Diggins Became the Future of the WNBA

Get Pumped: Aaron Bradley Is Running Down His Dream

Get Pumped: Aaron Bradley Is Running Down His Dream

Amazing 6-Year-Old Surfer Girl Will Brighten Your Day

Amazing 6-Year-Old Surfer Girl Will Brighten Your Day

Dellin Betances Leads a New Era of Bronx Bullpen Dominance

Dellin Betances Leads a New Era of Bronx Bullpen Dominance

Patrick Willis Announces His Retirement, Fulfills His Legacy

Patrick Willis Announces His Retirement, Fulfills His Legacy

SURVIVING SEALFIT: Meet 3 Guys Who Might Kill Me

SURVIVING SEALFIT: Meet 3 Guys Who Might Kill Me

James Harden's Journey From Sixth Man to Franchise Player

James Harden's Journey From Sixth Man to Franchise Player

Athletes Join the Cause for National Bullying Prevention Month

Athletes Join the Cause for National Bullying Prevention Month

WATCH: The Toughest 5 Days In High School Girls’ Soccer

WATCH: The Toughest 5 Days In High School Girls' Soccer

Get Pumped: Cam McDaniel Is Poised to Become an Impact Player

Get Pumped: Cam McDaniel Is Poised to Become an Impact Player

Featured STACKlete: Brandon Petty

Featured STACKlete: Brandon Petty

15 Things You Need to Know About Antonio Brown

15 Things You Need to Know About Antonio Brown

What the World Cup Means to Abby Wambach

What the World Cup Means to Abby Wambach

4 Stories of Baseball Perseverance With New Balance Unlaced

4 Stories of Baseball Perseverance With New Balance Unlaced

Colin Kaepernick: A Determined Man

Colin Kaepernick: A Determined Man

Featured STACKlete: Keyla Oliveras

Featured STACKlete: Keyla Oliveras

SURVIVING SEALFIT: The Question That Tells You If You'll Succeed

SURVIVING SEALFIT: The Question That Tells You If You'll Succeed

YardBarker