Lo­cal Olympian Fran­cia scores an­other win

Times Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - By Jar­reau Free­man

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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.