Rochester resident headed for Olympics

Jun 8, 2021

ROCHESTER -- Rochester resident and Tabor graduate Gia Doonan is headed to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo this July to row in the USA women’s eight.

USRowing, the governing body in the United States for the sport, announced the team for the women’s eight on June 4.

Doonan wrote her thanks through a Facebook post made by her mother, Liza.

“Going to the Olympics has been a dream of mine for a very very long time. My earliest memory of the ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ question, has always left me saying Olympian,” read the post.

And Doonan’s dream doesn’t end at qualifying for the games.

“It doesn’t stop now. The fight continues,” read the Facebook post. “Now we go to Tokyo and fight for the people who didn’t make it but have helped make this team who we are today. We fight for all the women who came before us and paved the way to make it possible. We fight for all the coaches and teammates we have had over the years regardless of what sport. And we fight to defend the USA title and make everyone proud.”

A 2012 graduate, she discovered the sport at Tabor, where she was also a basketball player.

In college, Doonan rowed for the University of Texas at Austin. There, she was a College Rowing Coaches Association All-America first team selection three years in a row, from 2015-17. She was also a two-time Big 12 conference rower of the year, and three-time conference champion.

She has won several international rowing medals at the World Rowing Championships, including a gold medal in 2018 and a bronze medal in 2019, both in the eight.

She and her teammates in the 8-woman boat are currently training in Princeton. On July 7, the team will travel to Hawaii to acclimate to the Tokyo heat before heading to the games on July 14.

The Olympics will run from July 23 to August 8. Heats of the Women’s Eight are scheduled to begin on July 25 with the final slated for July 30.

The USA Olympic Women’s rowing team’s coxed eight — the largest configuration in traditional rowing competitions — has been dominant in recent years, winning three consecutive gold medals since 2008 and four overall. The USA has never won a gold medal in any other women’s rowing event.

Busy training for her Olympic debut, Doonan could not immediately be reached for comment.