STACK Interview: Olympic Rower Susan Francia, Part 1 | STACK

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.”

FROM AROUND THE WEB

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...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Sochi Athletes Speak: Dominique Maltais, Canadian Snowboarder

Sochi Athletes Speak: Billy Demong, U.S. Nordic Skier

Patrick Willis's Perfect Attendance Record

How Skylar Diggins Became the Future of the WNBA

The Secrets Behind RGIII's Rise to Stardom

6 Powerful Women in Men

Locker Room Quotes: Week of June 10

Joe Mauer

The Secret to Tim Howard's Success

Mia Hamm Rewrites the Record Books to #WINFROMWITHIN

My Day With the King of the NBA D-League, Ron Howard

Athletes Join the Cause for National Bullying Prevention Month

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

Larry Fitzgerald: 'You Can

Sochi Athletes Speak: Shaun White, U.S. Snowboarder

WATCH: Armless Man Throws First Pitch

Fearless Femme: Pro Freeskier Roz G

What Makes Richard Sherman Tick

Jeris Pendleton's Tough Journey to the NFL

(Almost) Nothing Can Stop Adrian Peterson

Secrets of the World

Interview: Lauren Embree on Becoming a Pro Tennis Player

WATCH: The Toughest 5 Days In High School Girls

Meet the Real Gang Behind DeSean Jackson

Prepare to Be Inspired by One-Legged Soccer Player Nico Calabria

Colin Kaepernick: A Determined Man

Lessons From a Great Runner: 5 Keys to Realizing Your Dreams

Meet the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game MVP, Candace Parker

Featured STACKlete: Brandon Petty

Fearless Femme: Freeskier Angeli Vanlaanen

James Harden's Journey From Sixth Man to Franchise Player

WATCH: The Touchdown of the Year