Sports2022 Winter Olympics


Rower Sophia Vitas of Franklin has eyes on Tokyo Olympics

Posted at 6:42 PM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 19:42:05-04

Time for our latest Olympic hopeful spotlight: Sophia Vitas of Franklin didn't row until later in her college years. And now you might be able to get a lesson from her.

"I did basketball, soccer, track and field, cross country. So the sports program at Franklin really kind of helped me develop my competitive edge," Sophia Vitas says.

Sophia Vitas had the drive. But at UW-Madison, she actually started rowing on the late side.

"Walked into orientation and did my novice year as a junior. Which is uncommon. It's usually all freshmen," Vitas says.

At 6'2" she has the leverage and the strength. But this sport is all about pain management.

"Very common rowing injury is ribs. So I've actually fractured my ribs three times," Vitas says. "When I came to Wisconsin, I had a coach my novice year who, you know I'll remember this conversation for the rest of my life. She was just like, 'you could be really, really good at this. You just need to learn how to suffer. You get out of it exactly what you put into it.' And that's what I love about it. My hands are very callused, you probably can't see but they're pretty disgusting. Definitely not going to be a hand model any time soon."

Vitas helped get Team USA to Tokyo.

"Back in 2019, I helped qualify the quad which is 4-man boat sculling. I helped qualify that boat for the Olympics back in 2019. And my goal is to earn that seat that I qualified," Vitas says.

Now, what would be considered success?

"It's accomplishing things that you didn't think you could," Vitas says. "When I went to high school in Franklin, like I had never in a million years would imagine I'd be in this position."

And yes, if you go on Airbnb, there's a chance you could row with Sophia.

"Sign up online, and I'll host a class online where I am. You do it where you are, and that's it!" Vitas says.

Rowing is popular on fitness apps, so who better to learn from than the expert.

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