Former member of Aviron Knowlton and resident of Brome Lake, Gabrielle Smith, is heading to the summer 2021 Tokyo Olympics after being selected to represent the national rowing team. Smith didn’t start rowing full-time until 2012 but athleticism was always in her blood. After finding her coach Gavin Mckay, who established Avrion Knowlton, she has continuously rowed her way up the ladder. Now she is in the process of preparing to fulfill a life-long dream.
“I started rowing in 2012. I got into it through lifeguarding on Toronto Island, and we had these giant wood rowboats that we’d throw our equipment in and row out to our beaches. I really liked it and it was nice on Lake Ontario,” said Smith.
During the 2012 Olympics, Rowing Canada organized a program called the Row to Podium Program geared towards strong and tall athletes, but they didn’t necessarily need to have experience in rowing. That was when Smith found her opportunity. “You just had to know someone who was tall and strong, they didn’t necessarily need to know how to row. If you knew someone who was strong and tall, they could go through a series of physical tests to see if they had what it takes.”