Wide photo of the Canadian women's eight rowing crew in race action

Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski

Canadian Olympic Medal Count

Gold medal icon 1
Silver medal icon 0
Bronze medal icon 0

Biography

Just over a month before Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski was set to make her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, she was involved in a bike crash that resulted in a broken collarbone, a bruised hip, and 56 stitches. With a lot of hard work and support from her teammates, she recovered to take her spot in the eight at the Games where she was part of Canada’s first Olympic gold in any women’s rowing event since Atlanta 1996 and the first gold in the women’s eight since Barcelona 1992.

Gruchalla-Wesierski grew up as a competitive alpine skier but a broken leg ended her career and she thought she lost her chance at becoming a high-performance athlete. But a second chance came when she found rowing. Because of her age, she missed competing at the U23 level, and instead debuted with the senior national team at a 2018 World Cup in Lucerne as a member of the four. Later that year, she raced in the pair at the national championships with Larissa Werbicki and it was that performance that made her feel like she belonged on the national team. 

In 2019, Gruchalla-Wesierski joined the crew of the eight for a pair of World Cups, earning her first podium in Rotterdam. In her debut at the World Rowing Championships, she helped the eight to a fourth-place finish, qualifying the boat for Tokyo 2020. 

Gruchalla-Wesierski competed with the Calgary Rowing Club at the 2017 Henley Royal Regatta. 

A Little More About Kasia

Getting into the Sport: Started rowing in 2014 at age 23 with the Calgary Rowing Club on a team full of ex-athletes from other sports… Picked it up quite quickly and was naturally strong on the erg so it was easy to stay motivated towards pursuing the Olympic dream she had since she was five… Outside Interests: Supports Fast and Female… Enjoys skiing, biking, and socializing with friends to take her mind off rowing… Works parttime at lululemon… Odds and Ends: Role model is Norwegian alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal because of his skill and approach to the sport… Close friends with Czech rower, Helena Hlas, who she grew up ski racing with and was the one who convinced her to try rowing… Favourite quote: “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live forever as a champion” -Mohammad Ali…

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
Tokyo 2020RowingCoxed EightGold

Notable International Results

Olympic Games: 2020 - GOLD (W8+)

FISA World Championships: 2019 - 4th (W8+)