From Rio silver to stethoscope – Genevra Stone
Being on the podium at the Rio Olympic Games is no small feat. Now imagine being on the podium in Rio, having just completed medical school and in the middle of applying to residency programmes and you’ve got Dr. Genevra Stone. This is Stone’s post-Olympic story.
Stone, from the United States, competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games where she finished seventh in the women’s single sculls. After this performance, Stone planned to retire from rowing and finish medical school.
But she could not stop the rowing bug.
Stone continued training while at medical school, graduating in 2014. From there, her rise to the top was steady. She finished on the podium at two World Rowing Cups in 2015 before qualifying for the Rio Olympic Games with a fourth place finish at the 2015 World Rowing Championships. In 2016, she competed at just one World Rowing Cup and came away with a silver medal around her neck.
Stone was ready for Rio. As had been the case throughout her rowing career, rowing was not the only thing on Stone’s mind. Even as early as her post-Olympic medal ceremony interview, Stone was already talking about medical residency applications. She did, however, manage to squeeze in some post-Olympic celebrating.
“I stayed in Rio through to the closing ceremony, then headed home to Boston. I spent time with family and friends, getting to share the medal which their support helped me achieve. I also got to take part in a bunch of fun "victory tour" activities such as throwing out the first pitch at a Red Sox game,” says Stone.
Yet Stone’s determination did not let her stray too far from training. Her favourite race, the Head of the Charles in her home town of Boston, was coming up and she was aiming to tie the most number of wins in the championship single.
“I kept in touch with my single after Rio, training once daily,” Stone says. She also participated in the women’s Great Eight, a composite boat of some of the world’s best rowers. “Being part of the Great Eight makes the regatta especially special as I have such respect for the women I race against internationally and it is a privilege to be their teammates for a week.”
For the coming months, Stone will stay in the Boston area pursuing the next steps in her medical career. This requires applying and ‘matching’ with a hospital where she will start a residency in emergency medicine in June 2017.
Yet Stone is still reluctant to say that her rowing career has come to an end. “I love rowing and I can't imagine giving up the sport. I think I will always continue training at some level. Time will tell whether I choose to pursue Tokyo2020,” she says.
So what is her advice for young rowers just starting out? “I think it's important to chase your best, expect much of yourself and set the bar high. Perseverance pays off. Additionally, have fun in the process. Rowing can be a brutal sport of early mornings, extreme weather, a lot of lactate, but it is also a beautiful sport of teamwork, rhythm, and adrenalin.”