Gavin Stone, Sci ’19, a Queen’s student and member of the Canadian National Rowing Team, has secured a spot at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics after qualifying in Lucerne, Switzerland at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta. Stone and his Canadian rowing teammates will be representing Canada alongside 10 other Canadian boats.
Stone previously represented Canada at the Under-23 World Championships in 2017 and 2018 and was the Queen’s 2018-2019 Outstanding Performance of the Year award winner. He also won gold with the Gaels at the Canadian University Rowing Championships.
At the Regatta, Stone and his teammates raced against South Africa and France. After falling behind, Canada’s team worked together to chase the boats and ultimately finished second, ahead of France, clinching an official spot on the Olympic Team.
The qualification comes a year late for the Queen’s student and his Team Canada teammates, who had to postpone their Olympic plans due to the pandemic.
The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics had adverse effects on athletes around the world. Amid lockdowns, athletes like Stone were unable to train for extended periods of time.
Stone put his degree on hold in his final year to train with the Canadian National Rowing Team when news of the Olympic postponement was announced. Instead of letting the announcement negatively impact his mindset, Stone tried to foster a healthy attitude. He used the time the take up new hobbies, spend time with his family, and mentally reset.
Rami Maassarani, head coach of the Queen’s varsity rowing team, is a firm believer “that one needs to truly love rowing in order to achieve long-term and sustainable success in the sport.”
On his time working with Stone, Maassarani told The Journal, “There has never been a doubt in my mind that he is in the sport because he loves it. He enjoys working hard and going fast, but also always manages to keep sight of the reason which got him into rowing in the first place, which is his love of the sport”.
According to Maassarani, it’s Stone’s love for rowing and his positive mindset that allowed him to persevere through the challenges of the Olympic postponement and qualify for the Tokyo Games.
“[Stone] is a gifted rower who also works extremely hard at his craft. The combination of these attributes is what has allowed him to compete at such a high level and will continue to be his biggest strength.”
Maassarani described Stone as the ultimate team player, pushing his teammates forward in practice and supporting them when training gets tough.
“He is very down-to-earth and is a supportive teammate who can always be counted on to help out where needed and is a role model on the Queen’s rowing team.”
Stone has been a critical member of the Queen’s rowing team, working consistently on his journey to the Olympics. In the process, he has inspired other with his grit, dedication, and professionalism.
“I am sure that I speak for many people when I say that working with Gavin on his journey to the Olympics has been a privilege. We are all very excited to watch him race in Tokyo and will be cheering him on loudly on race day,” Maassarani said.
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