Midway through last Saturday’s women’s single sculls rowing final in Rio de Janeiro, the open water at Lagoa Stadium got a bit rough.
Gevvie Stone didn’t panic. In fact, it made her relax even more during the 2,000-meter Olympic race.
“When we hit the cross-chop I could see everyone else feeling it, and I thought, ‘Yes, this is Boston! This is what I want, rough water!'” Stone said. “So I think the middle 500 was my jam.”
The 31-year-old Stone, who hails from Newton, went on to finish less than 1.5 seconds behind winner Kim Brennan of Australia. Taking the silver medal, however, hardly felt like a disappointment to the future orthopedic surgeon.
“This can’t be a better way to go out,” Stone said. “Kimmy so deserves that [gold medal], and to be that close to her, I feel like I am on top of the moon. I can’t imagine a better way to end your career.”
Stone grew up rowing on the Charles River. She attended at the all-girls Winsor School in Boston, graduating in 2003. Then she headed south to Princeton University for four years. In 2014, she graduated from Tufts University medical school.
Stone plans to race at the Head of the Charles in October but she’ll be finished with competitive rowing after that. With a Sept. 15 deadline to submit her application for medical residency, which will begin next June, she’s got a lot on her plate as she begins the next phase of her life.
That doesn’t mean she can’t take in the joy of winning her first Olympic medal, however.
“It’s so funny because they think, ‘oh, the silver medalist must be so unhappy they didn’t win gold,’ but I am so happy,” Stone said. “I could not be happier. Kimmy has been on top, and to be so close to her and to get the silver medal is just amazing.”
Stone started Saturday’s final as she typically does — patient and steady. She was second at the 1,000-meter mark as she contemplated making her move from her spot in lane 2. As soon as her small racing shell hit the swells that peppered rowers throughout the Rio competition, Stone — whose father Gregg is her coach — imagined she was back in Boston.
“This weather. This wind. This is classic Boston basin,” Stone said. “We got some wind and some wake bounce, and I felt this is my thing. I can row through wakes.”
Stone battled with China’s Jingli Duan in lane 4 during that third 500, eventually pulling ahead of her for good in the pivotal segment of the race. In the final 500 meters, Stone gritted her teeth and increased her stroke rate as she fought for a spot on the podium.
She finished roughly half a length behind Brennan. Had the race extended another 100 or so meters, Stone may have caught up to the reigning world champion.
“I’m so proud of her and how much work she’s put in to get this done,” Gregg Stone said. “You can’t really separate [being a dad and being a coach]. I’m thrilled in every way.”
After her victory, Stone experienced another highlight: the Patriots congratulated her via Twitter (see above).
“The Patriots just tweeted to me! Serious medal perk! #goPats #indisbelief” Stone tweeted.