Q&A With UVa Rowing Alum Lindsay Shoop
Former Virginia rowing All-American Lindsay Shoop recently added another gold medal to her already amazing list of accomplishments. With the United States women’s eight at the 2009 World Championships in Poznan, Poland, Shoop and the U.S. crew won their fourth-consecutive gold medal. A gold medalist at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Shoop has rowed with the U.S. women’s eight and won a gold medal at four-straight international championships (2006 Worlds, 2007 Worlds, 2008 Olympics and 2009 Worlds). She recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com.
Question: How did it feel to win your fourth-straight gold medal dating back to the 2006 World Championships?
Shoop: This year was a mix of using what we have learned in the past to build for the future, while recognizing a break from our previous achievements as the next four years hold a completely new set of challenges. Those of us that have been around for a few years have developed clout and experience that can only come with time, but we cannot linger on our past accomplishments to carry us through. Most importantly, we cannot forget that it was hard work and high stress. I think that one of the things that made this World Title keep its meaning for me was having a few new team members. Seeing their reactions to the win reminded me of what I felt the first time we won in 2006. It made the last four years seem like the blink of an eye. Being a part of four-straight titles is an incredible honor that has resulted in international recognition. Commentators have begun to consider my teammates and I names you should recognize. It is certainly flattering as I remember watching World Championships and Olympic footage in the past and being in awe of the ‘big names.’ To have even one person feel about what my teammates and I have accomplished the same way I felt when I was a spectator is still not something I have fully wrapped my head around.
Question: Did you think about defending your Olympic title or was it a completely new challenge?
Shoop: We definitely wanted to defend it, and knew we had the tools to make that happen. We would prove to ourselves just how much we have learned over the past few years. In terms of defending our Olympic title, we have to wait until 2012 before that opportunity arises, though we have already been preparing for it. The difference between the Olympic and World Championship titles is a little bit like comparing apples and oranges: both are similar as fruits of our labor and wonderful in their own ways, but do not taste the same. The Olympics is the more prestigious of the two.
Question: Was international competition always a goal of yours? Did you envision yourself winning four gold medals when you were at UVa?
Shoop: I have always enjoyed competition, and the more you do something and the better you get at it, the bigger the challenge you seek. Whether international competition was in my realm of possibility before [UVa heach coach] Kevin [Sauer] introduced me to rowing, I am not sure, but I am always up for a new challenge. I guess it was only a matter of time and desire before international competition came into the picture. As for the four-straight titles, I certainly never envisioned myself achieving all that I have. Kevin had the whole team fill out goals worksheets in 2003, just one year after I started rowing. He still had mine in the fall of 2008. I wrote under the question about a goal if anything were possible in rowing: “Medal in the 2008 Olympics.” I was afraid to put “Win a Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympics,” because I didn’t want to jinx anything.
I can also say that before I started rowing, my parents knew I had so much more potential than what I was giving myself credit for; they just gave me time to figure that out for myself.
Question: Did you have much contact with current UVa rowers Lauren Hutchins or Katrin Reinert at the World Championships?
Shoop: Lauren Hutchins and I stayed at the same hotel while in Poland. We rode to the course on the same bus periodically depending on practice schedules. We chatted, but did not see much more of one another as we were competing in the same event. I even found out that she lives in the same house I lived in my last year at Virginia. Funny coincidence.
I never crossed paths with Katrin.
Question: In the spring of 2009, the Virginia rowing program dedicated a racing eight boat that bears your name, along with Melanie Kok (class of 2007). How does that feel to have your name on a boat at UVa?
Shoop: I am most honored to have a boat named after both Mel Kok and I because I think that it best represents what UVa Rowing is about: Team. It was not just me that got me where I am, but all of my teammates I have had that have encouraged and pushed me. The fact that Mel and I were boatmates makes the named boat mean that much more.