Rising Star - March 2013
A fast five minutes with Kara Kohler
At the age of 21 Kara Kohler made her Olympic debut. She returned from London to the United States with a bronze medal in the women’s quadruple sculls. Kara’s fast ascent to the top of her sport began with her making the US national team just two years after she took up rowing. Already as a 19-year-old Kara was on the under-23 team becoming a World Champion in the women’s eight.
Kara was a competitive swimmer at high school, but some family friends put the idea in her head that maybe rowing was a good option for university. “I reached out to the coaches [at her chosen university – University of California, Berkeley], set up a recruiting trip, and within a week after visiting I decided that I was ready to commit to this new journey.”
Kara is World Rowing’s Rising Star for March.
I row because... I love speed, muscles and water! But really I row because it has given me so many opportunities to expand my horizons. It has allowed me to see new places and meet some really incredible people and families. Rowing has changed my life in the best way possible.
I'm most relaxed when... I'm not hungry.
I study... At UC Berkeley. I study Society and Environment which is a major in the College of Natural Resources.
My toughest race ... NCAA (University championships) final 2010. It was our coxswain Jill Costello's final race before being taken by lung cancer. It was tough, yet incredibly inspiring to see Jill making every possible effort she could to be training and racing with the team while battling lung cancer. Witnessing how Jill handled her fight against lung cancer at such a young age gave me and numerous others a new perspective on life's challenges. She wasn't about to let anything stop her from pursuing her goals.
I'm motivated by... My family, friends and coaches who believe in my potential. Also, my own drive to be a better athlete and teammate motivates me.
A typical day is... Training and riding my bike around Berkeley between classes and dining destinations. I love my bike and food.
My favourite food is... Cancun Sabor Mexicano restaurant in Berkeley, fruit, vegetables, spicy food and banana almond butter pancakes. That was a tough choice.
Something most people don't know about me... I have a semi-secret love of singing.
Scull or sweep? Sculling. Although I like being versatile.
In 10 years time I will... Be 10 years wiser! Of course one never knows where life will take them but maybe I will have raced in a couple more Olympics and maybe by then I will have learned how to grow my own food. I want to help people appreciate the simplicity and power of whole foods. The original fast food!