Team Canada's women's rowing team

Susanne Grainger

Team Canada Medal Count

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


Susanne Grainger was a member of the women’s eight that won gold at Tokyo 2020. It was 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.

Grainger made her international debut at the 2011 U23 World Championships where she helped Canada win gold in the women’s eight. But it was about this time, when she was 21, that Grainger was diagnosed with hypothyroid disorder, which presented a serious challenge to her ability to train and recover. Working with doctors, she was able to push through as they found the right dose of medication to bring her thyroid levels back to normal. Grainger returned to the U23 world championships in 2012 and won a second straight gold medal, this time in the four.

She made her debut with the senior national team in 2013 and won bronze in her very first World Cup race. Looking at the medal around her neck made her realize that her dream of competing for Canada was now a reality. She went on to win bronze with the eight later that summer in her debut at the World Rowing Championships.  

Grainger continued to compete in the big boat in 2014 and 2015, winning silver and bronze at the world championships. In her Olympic debut at Rio 2016, Grainger and the eight advanced to the A final, finishing fifth. At the 2017 World Championships, Grainger competed in both the four and the eight, winning silver with the latter. Another silver in the eight followed at the 2018 Worlds. Grainger and the eight finished fourth at the 2019 World Championships, qualifying the boat for Canada for Tokyo 2020.

Grainger had been a member of the varsity eight while representing the University of Virginia.

A Little More About Susanne

Getting into the Sport: Started rowing just after her family moved back to Canada in 2005 when she was going into grade 8… A friend’s father coached the high school rowing team and told her she should try it based on her height… He took her to Lake Fanshawe and showed her how to erg; once she got the hang of that, he let her row in a tub single and she never looked back… It was the last “tall person sport” that she tried… Outside Interests: Graduated from the University of Virginia in 2013 with a double major in studio art (concentration in photography) and politics (concentration in government and political theory)… Earned Master’s degree at Western University in 2014, studying Canadian-American relations with a focus on negative campaign television advertising… Loves  baking and has an Instagram account just for her tasty treats… Loves to sing and has written music in the past… Played clarinet in her high school band… Works part time with CAN Fund… Odds and Ends: Favourite motto: Champions are made when no one is watching… Brings home coffee mugs from her travels…  

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
Rio 2016 RowingCoxed Eight - Women5
Tokyo 2020RowingCoxed Eight - Women Gold

Notable International Results

Olympic Games: 2020 - GOLD (W8+); 2016 – 5th (W8+)

World Rowing Championships: 2019 – 4th (W8+); 2018 – SILVER (W8+); 2017 – SILVER (W8+), 9th (W4-); 2015 – BRONZE (W8+); 2014 – SILVER (W8+); 2013 – BRONZE (W8+)

World Rowing U23 Championships: 2012 – GOLD (W4-); 2011 – GOLD (W8+)