Local Olympian Francia scores another win
Abington native Susan Francia, 29, won JROG DW WKH :RPHn’V 8 finDO DW WKH EWRn Dorney race course in London Aug. 2.
This is the second gold medal for Francia, a member of the United States Women’s 8 rowing team, who won gold in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics.
Francia said she is thrilled to be a twotime Olympic gold medalist.
“[It’s] pretty awesome,” she said in a recent interview. “Each Olympics is different and there is a different journey and set of struggles to get there, but it’s just as VZHHW DV WKH fiUVW.”
7KH 8.6. :RPHn’V 8 DUH fiYH-WLPH world champions and have been undefeated since 2006, according to London2012. com.
During the race the U.S. was ahead almost the entire 2,000-meter final. The team held a three-seat lead at the 500 meter mark, a seven-seat lead at the halfway mark and a full boat lead at the 1,500-meter mark, according to PennAthleics.com. They crossed the finishing line in 6:10.59 followed by Canada, who won silver and the Netherlands who won bronze, the site said.
“The race went according to plan,” Francia said. “We had done race visualizations where we imagined the race being very close … we were ready for anything. However, we jumped out into the lead and never looked back.”
Francia’s mother, Katalin Karikó, said VKH 6NySHG FUDnFLD EHIRUH WKH finDO UDFH. She said that Francia was not nervous and ensured her that the Women’s 8 boat was fast and that they were going to win.
“[I watched the final in London] with my husband and my sister ... just as we did four years ago in Beijing when she won her first Olympic gold,” Karikó said in a recent interview. “The three of us are her most devoted fans and traveled to New Zealand, Poland, Slovenia, Germany and Switzerland to see her competing at international levels.”
Karikó said that she too can’t believe that her daughter is a two-time gold medalist.
“When I step back and think about [how] my daughter is a two-time Olympic champion it seems unbelievable,” she said. “I am very proud of her accomplishments.”
While the race itself was full of anticipation, Karikó said that the last moments of the race where not as dramatic as the months she watched her daughter train to gain a spot on the Women’s 8 team.
“At [this year’s Olympics], the U.S. Women’s 8 boat entered as the defending world [champions] and Olympic champions, the heavy favorites to win,” she said. “The biggest challenge for any athlete was to win a seat in this boat. There were many good rowers on the U.S. team and they were racing against each other for those limited spots. So for me, the six minutes RI WKH finDO UDFH ZDV nRW DV GUDPDWLF DV WKH last 10 months while Susan went through the selection process. I worried so much during that time, especially [since] Susan suffered from some rowing-related injuries. But she fully recovered and thanks to the many years of training and hard work she could get into the boat.”
So, what does the parent of two-time gold medalists hope for her daughter? More gold, perhaps?
“I know that my daughter enjoys rowing and racing, she loves her teammates and she is very happy in that lifestyle,” said Karikó. “However, I hope Susan will not race anymore. To row on this high level is very demanding. But if she decides to continue rowing and racing, as a mother I will support her decision.”
As for Francia, she is basking in another Olympic victory and enjoying the gold around her neck, which she said she sports 24/7.
“[The medal] is on me all the time,” she said. “It truly is my golden ticket. I met 6LU 3DuO 0FCDUWnHy EHFDuVH , flDVKHG LW DW him and all of a sudden he was so thrilled to meet me.”