Relishing the challenge
Susan Francia’s ascent in rowing is nothing short of phenomenal. The 27-year-old has been
in the sport less than a decade and she is already ranked second on the list of top athletes
for 2009. But that is not all. Francia, along with partner in the women’s pair Erin Cafaro, was
named World Rowing Crew of the Year for 2009.
This wrapped up an exceptional year that included
Francia being chosen as one of the select few to reveal
all for America’s sports television channel, ESPN
Magazine’s “The Body Issue”. Francia was also named,
along with Cafaro, as USA Today’s Athlete of the Week
in September. In the same month she was featured as
World Rowing’s Athlete of the Month.
© 2009 John Gichigi/Getty Images
At the end of the season Francia went on to race in
Boston’s Head of the Charles regatta in the prestigious
“Super Shark” eight, a boat made up of some of the top
women rowers from around the globe. The crew won
the race against top American university crews and the
US national team eight (minus Francia and Cafaro).
Making the US national team in 2005 Francia continued
to shine and in 2006 the women’s eight she was a member
of set a new World Best Time. Two years later she became
an Olympic Champion. Francia’s Olympic success sent
her on a whirlwind celebrity tour which included a
reception at the White House and going onto the Oprah
Winfrey Show. The US women’s eight was named World
Rowing Female Crew of the Year in 2008. Francia and
Cafaro are the only athletes to have held this award for
two consecutive years.
Always looking for new challenges, Franica has not ruled
out rowing at the 2012 Olympic Games. Along the way,
however, she is keen to do some triathlons, some surfing
and does not rule out extreme sports.
Born in Hungary, Francia moved to the United States as a
baby and by the time she was a teenager, Francia was over
six feet tall and still growing. Francia tried various sports
but it was not until she went to university and discovered
rowing that she found herself excelling in a sport.