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Team USA Spotlight: Charlie Cole


Rower, New Canaan, CT
Prior Games: London ‘12

Cole graduated from New Caanan High School, where he got his start rowing under coach Yan Vengerovskiy. He was named USRowing’s 2011 Athlete of the Year and won a bronze medal in Beijing in 2012.

What are you excited for in Rio? I am really looking forward to getting down there with my teammates and racing. We spend all year, really the whole four year cycle, putting in hours and hours of training for just a few six-minute races.

What are your goals as a team this year? As a crew, we are really focused on getting the most out of ourselves and validating what the U.S. has done in the men’s four the past few years.

What is a typical day of training like for you and your teammates? During the year we train two or three times a day, six or seven days a week depending on where we are in our training cycle. We’re up at 6 a.m. and it can be a full day of training until we finish in the afternoon. The men’s and women’s teams are both based in Princeton, NJ, and we have a great setup there, including support from the community and use of the university’s facilities. All that support makes it possible for us to train as full-time athletes.

How did growing up in New Canaan help you get to where you are today? I was lucky to have a lot of good teachers, coaches and role models in New Canaan and at the Maritime Rowing Club growing up. When I was in high school, one of the program’s alums, Dan Walsh, was rowing on the national team.  He ended up going to Athens as a spare and winning a bronze in the men’s eight in Beijing. Occasionally he would come back and speak to the team. Getting exposure to people like that performing at the highest levels made it seem possible that I could do it, too.

You have degrees from Yale and Oxford universities. What are your plans after Rio? I have not been thinking ahead past the next few months. I want to make the most of this incredible opportunity and enjoy being in this crew. If we are successful, it will be easy to sort out what comes next.

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