Olympic rower Silken Laumann on her new memoir, battles with depression and her "pump-up song"

Silken, in 1992, with her bronze medal and injured, bandaged leg.


FRESH START
Writing the book has been healing. [It covers her difficult childhood and struggles with anxiety and depression. ] Sometimes I said, “I can’t do this,” and yet the story literally had to be told. It felt like I couldn’t do anything else in my life until I wrote it.

THE THRILL OF VICTORY
As I’ve become more at peace with myself, there’s a freedom. I feel more energetic as I approach 50. [She’s 49.] Life has just gotten better. We’re so hypercritical about every line and grey hair. Aging is something we can embrace.

SILKEN’S CREW
I’m happiest – as Patch says – when “all my chickens are home.” [She and fiancé David “Patch” Patchell- Evans have four teens – William and Kate from her first marriage and David’s kids, Tygre and Kilee.] I glow when all four kids are in the nest.

SWEETHEARTS
Patch and I have date nights. Sometimes if he’s going to pick up the kids, I’ll go with him. We’ll stop at our favourite coffee shop and share a piece of flourless chocolate cake. We’ve been engaged for almost four years and we keep trying to figure out how to [find the time] to get married – 2014 is the year!

FOLLOWING IN HER WAKE
My kids are their own people. William and Kate both row, and if that’s what they decide to do, I will be very confident it’s because they want to.

LADY OF THE RINGS
Fashion is fun and accessorizing is really fun. I never spend more than $150 on a piece because I don’t want to be broken-hearted if I lose it. I lost my engagement ring. It took me four months to tell Patch and another six months to replace it. I keep thinking I’m going to find it in some pocket.


GAME ON!
Olympic musing from the three-time medal winner...

PERFECT 10
Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci – who won gold in 1976 – sparked this future rower’s interest in competitive sport. “I had shivers. It was the first time I recognized excellence [and thought] ‘I want that.’”

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
She’s looking forward to watching Olympic figure skating, ski-jumping, moguls and more. “You’re watching human drama unfold.”

PRECIOUS MEDALS
Where does Silken keep her Olympic awards? “In my bedroom closet only because I have yet to find the time to mount some of my paraphernalia. I tell ya, my closet is a wealth of treasures!”

TRY, TRY AGAIN
“I did my first swim clinic and discovered that I was swimming with completely straight arms, which apparently is a mistake. I do a ton of yoga. Yoga’s where I get grounded emotionally and spiritually. I ski and I weight lift. I’m a pure mesomorph – I gain muscle from looking at weights! I’m not particularly bulky; it’s just about the kind of exercise. Women have to stay strong for bone density. There’s nothing more beautiful than strong posture.”

NO PAIN, NO GAIN
“I always think of pain – and I’m talking the good pain of working out – as a positive signal of my effort. Rather than ‘It hurts,’ I think, ‘I’m working hard, that’s good!’ When I would get to a hill, my first running coach would say, ‘Yay, it’s a hill!’ And I still do that.”

TURN UP THE VOLUME
“My pump-up song? ‘The Power’ by Snap!

ENJOY THE PAYOFF
”I’m loving the strength of my body and its resiliency. I’m so grateful for the vibrancy I feel in my body and my mind. In the morning, it’s the first thing I’m grateful for.”

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