Read Susan's 2008 Starting Five Interview here.
1. How have you prepared differently for this quadrennial than previous cycles?
I struggled when I came back after Beijing because everything was so different- the group, the training, the attitude. It was very hard to get back into the swing of intense training after taking some time off in San Diego, but I'm glad that I stuck with it. I decided to take some risks in the small boat and sometimes it went great and sometimes it didn't. But that's life and I'm glad I did it. I became more proficient in the small boat and was able to impart my wisdom on others, whether Meghan Musnicki wanted to hear it or not. I ended up having a great time these last 4 years and made some great friendships (Hi Sarahs!). Leading up to London, our final group really formed its own identity and it's been awesome working together towards the Olympics.
2. Did anything completely unexpected happen, or do you have any memorable or unusual stories from your previous Olympiad?
Does posing nude for the ESPN Body Issue count? That was unexpected, memorable, AND unusual.
3. Any/Most important advice for first time Olympians?
Enjoy literally EVERY moment. It goes by too fast. All of it, the pre-racing build up, the nerves during racing, the racing, and not to mention the post- Olympic mayhem.
4. What was your state of mind like sitting in the starting block of your first Olympic race?
I was ready. There is no better feeling than sitting at the catch, your blade buried, and knowing that you are ready, that you and your boat have done absolutely everything to prepare for that moment. It was great.
5. What's different this time around/what will you do differently at this Olympics?
I don't plan to do anything much different. I remember I was focused, but also my same goofy self. Although this time I won't get to squish Brett Sickler into a small refrigerator to scare passersby or hide her in the towel bin in the physical therapy room. I also probably won't go to the Great Wall of China.
6. Do you feel older/better/wiser/stronger/other?
Older. Older. Older. Ouch. Salonpas Original Pain Relieving Patches are the key to getting older. That stuff works miracles. I am not endorsed by them though I should be. Every time I go to Walmart, I literally sweep the entire stock of them into my cart. Yeah, also better, wiser, and stronger.
7. Does the phrase "the Olympics" ring differently the next time around?
No. The Olympics are the Olympics and it's always special. Each Olympics is different and it's always exciting. And it's also always the most nerve-wracking and most intense year to make the team. I definitely didn't take it lightly.
8. As far as regattas go, comparing the olympics to different races (Worlds, Lucerne), is it a better or different regatta, or just higher stakes?
It's way better. Everyone has prepared for that moment, for that race. There is nothing higher than that. It is an amazing feeling being here in London and I feel very blessed to have had such a great support system (my mom and dad, aunt, my boyfriend, and everyone else who had to listen to me cry and complain but helped me get back up).
Birthplace: Szeged, Hungary
Hometown: Abington, Pa.
Current Residence: Princeton, N.J.
Club Affiliation: USRowing Training Center - Princeton
Began Rowing: University of Pennsylvania, 2001
Date of Birth: 11/8/82
High School: Abington Senior High School
Undergraduate Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A. Criminology, 2004
Graduate Education: University of Pennsylvania, M.S. Sociology, 2004
Current Coaches: Tom Terhaar
Years on National Team: Eight – 2005-12, Senior
International Results: Won gold and set a world record (5:54.17) in the heat in the eight at the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup II...Won gold in the eight at the 2011 World Rowing Championships...Finished fourth in the pair at the 2011 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne...Won the Remenham Challenge Cup and set the course record at the 2011 Henley Royal Regatta...Took silver in the pair at the 2011 Rowing World Cup stop in Munich...Took bronze in the pair at the 2010 World Rowing Championships...Won gold in the eight and took silver in the pair at the 2010 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne…Took bronze in the pair at the 2010 Rowing World Cup stop in Bled…Won gold in the eight and pair at the 2009 World Rowing Championships…Won gold in the eight at the 2009 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne…Won gold in the eight at the 2008 Olympic Games...Won gold in the eight at the 2008 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne...Finished sixth in the pair at the 2008 Rowing World Cup stop in Munich...Won gold in the eight at the 2007 World Rowing Championships...Won gold in the eight at the 2007 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne...Took bronze in the pair at the 2007 Rowing World Cup stop in Linz...Won gold and set the world record (5:55.50) in the eight and finished 12th in the double sculls at the 2006 World Rowing Championships...Finished seventh in the double sculls at the 2006 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne...Won the Remenham Cup at the 2006 Henley Royal Regatta...Finished eighth in the double sculls at the 2006 Rowing World Cup stop in Munich...Finished fourth in the eight at the 2005 World Rowing Championships...Won bronze in the eight at the 2005 Rowing World Cup stop in Munich.
National Results: Finished fifth in the pair at the 2012 National Selection Regatta #1...Won the pair at the 2011 National Selection Regatta #2...Won the pair at all three of the 2010 National Selection Regattas…Won the championship eight at the 2009 Head of the Charles Regatta…Won the pair at the 2009 World Championships Trials…Finished second in the pair at the 2008 National Selection Regatta #2...Won the championship eight at the 2007 Head of the Charles Regatta...Won the eight and finished third in the pair at the 2007 USRowing National Championships...Won the championship eight at the 2006 Head of the Charles Regatta...Won the double sculls at the 2006 National Selection Regatta #2...Won the championship eight at the 2005 Head of the Charles Regatta... Finished second in the four with coxswain at the 2004 Head of the Charles Regatta...Finished second in the four at the 2004 World Senior and Junior Championships Trials.
Personal: Susan was awarded USRowing's Female Athlete of the Year in 2010...Susan was awarded World Rowing’s Female Crew of the Year in 2008 and 2009, along with boatmate Erin Cafaro…She loves the water and enjoys swimming, boogie boarding and jet-skiing…Susan speaks Hungarian…Her most memorable moment in sports is winning a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in the eight…Susan attributes her work ethic and perseverance to her parents, and blames her sense of humor and love of pranks on her father…Her favorite sport to watch is track and field, and she used to watch Formula One auto racing on Eurosport with her grandmother in Hungary…Susan’s favorite movies include The Big Lebowski, American Psycho and Piranha 3-D…She recently signed with Wilhelmina Models, along with teammate Giuseppe Lanzone…Susan dreams of eventually living next to the beach in San Diego.