From the hipster cafes and graffiti laneways of Fitzroy, to the winners’ podium at the Olympic Games (and potential closing ceremony flag bearer), Kim Brennan needed more than a stroke of luck to stay the course.
The superstar rower took home gold in the women’s single sculls, beating Genevra Stone (USA) and across-the-ditch rival Emma Twigg (NZ) for the win.
“[Graduating] Dux from Ruyton Girls’ School in Kew in 2003 with a VCE score of 99.95, she chose to study a double degree in media communications and law at Melbourne University”
Rowing wasn’t always going to be Brennan’s shot at Olympic victory, however. She was first a champion hurdler, but a serious foot injury saw her hanging up her spikes in favour of an oar.
“I came into rowing a lot by chance. When I was about 19 I injured my foot, I had surgery and the surgeon said that I wasn’t going to be able to run again,” Brennan said in a Rowing Australia interview.
“I was doing my rehab on a rowing ergo and a couple of the rowing coaches in at the VIS [Victorian Institute of Sport] suggested that I come down and try out rowing.”
She says she wasn’t completely taken with the sport straight away, but grew to love its sense of community.
“It is a very close knit community. I love going back to my club of Melbourne University… We all support each other in whatever it is that brings us to the boat house.”
It’s the first-ever Olympic gold in the event for Australia, and only the second in Australian women’s rowing history, after a win at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
The 31-year-old is no stranger to the podium, however, having won bronze for the same event at the 2012 London Games, as well as silver in the women’s double sculls.
Having grown up in a sports-mad family, it’s no surprise that the bubbly blonde has become a successful athlete.
Her father, Max Crow, played AFL football for Essendon, St Kilda and Footscray in the 1970s and ‘80s, while her mother, Susan, made history as the first woman on the Cricket Victoria board. Her older brother, Justin is a manager at Essendon Football Club.
After graduating as Dux from Ruyton Girls’ School in Kew in 2003 with a VCE score of 99.95, she chose to study a double degree in media communications and law at Melbourne University, and did so with first-class honours.
Until recently when her rowing training intensified, Brennan was still practicing law part-time as a legal counsel for Basketball ACT.
With her Olympic dream now complete after 11 years of hard work, Brennan is considering retirement to focus on spending time with her husband and maybe starting a family.
Whatever feat she chooses to tackle next, we’re sure the Melbourne born superstar will give it all she’s got, and that seems to be quite a lot.
By Caitlyn Leggett