Penn Alum Susan Francia Headed to Olympics

2008 U.S. Olympic Rowing Team release

PHILADELPHIA - USRowing has announced its 2008 Olympic Team, and 2004 Penn graduate Susan Francia has been named to the women’s eight (she is scheduled to row in the sixth seat).

The Olympic Games will take place in Beijing, China and start August 8. Rowing at the 2008 Olympic Games begins August 9 and runs through August 17. Finals are set for August 16-17. The competition will take place at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park, located in Mapo Town in the Shunyi district of Beijing. The rowing course is located about 45 kilometers outside of downtown Beijing.

This will be Francia’s first Olympic Games. She is the 11th Penn women’s rower to make the Olympics, and the first since Sarah Garner collected a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney (Australia) Games. This will mark the seventh Olympic Games in which the Penn women’s rowing team has had a representative.

“Susan is a very gifted athlete, and I am extremely fired up that her dream to make the Olympic team has become a reality,” said Penn second-year head coach Mike Lane. “She is a dedicated alum who comes back each fall to meet our walk-ons as well as talk about her own experience as an athlete at Penn.

“Susan walked on to the Penn team as a sophomore when she learned how to row, which is an example to all walk-ons that their dreams can become a reality as long as they work hard and have the right mental attitude.

“The excitement of finishing the year with our varsity boat ranked in the top 20, and now having Susan being named to the Olympic team, just continues our momentum as we continue to push our program forward to that next level!”