Next Stop Tokyo: Gevvie Stone

Tokyo 2020 Athlete Interviews

2 minute read
Words Tom Ransley
Photography Benedict Tufnell & Holly Rike
Published 04.07.21

On the cusp of her third consecutive Olympics, Dr. Gevvie Stone is set to represent Team USA at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has formed a new partnership with Kristi Wagner and will race in the women’s double scull. Gevvie balances her Olympic rowing alongside medicine. She graduated in 2014 two years after competing in the women’s single scull at her first Olympic Games – the London 2012 Olympics. Stone won the silver medal in the same event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Between 2017 and 2018 she completed her Emergency Medicine residency before making a rowing comeback. The Tokyo Games will be her swan song.

Photo Olympic silver medallist Dr. Gevvie Stone
Credit Holly Rike

What racing have done this season? Kristi and I raced World Rowing Cup II in Luzern and finished 3rd in the women’s double. It was a good start for our first international race together and provided a good learning experience.

What’s your upcoming schedule? USRowing has a training camp in Honolulu for one week prior to flying to Tokyo July 14th and because we cross the international date line we arrive on the July 15th. After we finish the airport Covid-19 testing and protocol we go straight to the village. Our first row at the venue will be July 18th – the day the course opens.

Have you visited the Olympic venue before? I’ve never been to Japan!

How do you feel? Currently, I’m nervous about packing and the possibility of forgetting something. It will probably result in my bags being either too numerous or too heavy. Packing is one of my least favourite activities. Regarding the rowing, I’m also nervous but in a more excited and positive way.

What are you hoping for? Kristi and I have been working hard for the past couple weeks and have made some positive changes in the way we move the boat. I hope that we’re able to put it all together on race week and execute our best races—races, of which, we are proud. And hopefully that leads to a podium finish.

Who are the big players in your event? The Romanians have been dominant since the 2020 European Championships. The Kiwis won the 2019 World Championships and are now in a new combination – presumably they’ve made the change to improve to it. The Lithuanians, the Dutch, and the Canadians are also expected to be fast. And US!

Photo USA W2x Stone and Wagner
Credit Benedict Tufnell

What sessions are you doing now? In terms of volume and intensity we’ve just finished our last big week. We were doing longer steady state rows, shorter technical rows, and plenty of minutes at, near or above race pace. In terms of tapering we will start to decrease a bit in Hawaii, but we will not taper seriously until we are in Japan. At least, that’s my guess – Coach Dad has the plan.

How will you feel when you arrive? Excited, overwhelmed, and impatient. Basically, a bit of everything! There’s an energy that comes with arriving at the Games, but it feels strange when combined with the exhaustion from travel—and this time around the added effort of Covid-19 regulations.

How long will you be away from home? I will be gone for just over three weeks. Coach Dad*, Kristi, and I depart Tokyo July 30th and head home to Boston. We have to take a Covid-19 test prior to travel, but in the US, there is no quarantine for vaccinated persons . On a side note, Kristi and I, our significant others, and a number of the other US rowers will be going to the Universal Studios in Florida on August 4th– 8th for theme park fun and Olympics viewing parties all thanks to the USOPC [United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee] and NBC [National Broadcasting Company] .

How big is your team? The US is the only country to qualify all seven women’s boats for this Games. So we have 24 women plus 13 men from both of their crews; the men’s eight and four.

What non-rowing Olympic sports will you follow?
I’ll follow everything I can so long as it’s not distracting me from my own racing, which from past experience is actually not a ton given the time that goes into race prep and commuting to and from the course. I got very into US swimming trials, and I hope to catch some of those races. Then, the second week, I’ll be glued to my screen!

Do you know any of the Tokyo-bound non-rowing athletes? I know a handful of Princetonians who will be competing in other events—water polo, fencing, athletics to name a few. We’re hoping to have a socially distanced Tiger reunion in the Village.

What unusual item will you bring? My teddy bear came with me to London and Rio, so I can’t leave her at home this time around.

Have you heat-trained to help prepare for the conditions? Boston has had two heat waves with temps above 90 and a good amount of humidity, which naturally helped acclimatization. Kristi and I have also been wearing extra clothes for some workouts and been spending time in the sauna.

The racing has some early starts, how do you feel about that? Kristi and I launch at 6am for a 6:40am start on piece days, so our race times in Tokyo seem quite leisurely.

What will you eat for breakfast on race day? I am an oatmeal girl, and I’m very much hoping that it is available in Japan. I feel like it is a very generic, universal food. Worst case scenario, our team nutritionist typically brings the flavoured oatmeal packets. I will also have a stash of chocolate chip Clif bars.

*Gevvie is coached by her father Gregg Stone. She earned her first senior international medal on Father’s Day, 21st June 2015, a silver at World Rowing Cup II in the women’s single. Her father Gregg was the top US single sculler in 1980 and was likely to race at the 1980 Moscow Olympics had it not been for the US boycott. Her Mum, Lisa Hansen was also a US Rowing athlete and competed at the 1976 Olympics. Lisa is a two-time bronze medallist at the World Rowing Championships (1977-’78). When Gevvie was in high school, her mother coached her along with her high school team.