Silas Stafford didn’t give up.

And now he’s about to enter the biggest race of his life.


Silas, a Santa Rosa High grad, has been training for three years to make the U.S. Olympic Team in rowing. Talk about sacrifice.

This spring it looked like all that effort might be for naught for this young man who’s rowed for Stanford and Cambridge universities. Silas and fellow rower Tom Peszek of Farmington Hills, Mich. were the last two men cut in the selection process for the U.S. eight-man team. “Crushing blow” is the description the U.S. Rowing website gave on Thursday for what the two men experienced:

“We were at the meeting where we got cut, we were the last two that got cut, and as we were walking away, we were obviously disappointed and Tom turned to me and said, ‘Do you want to row the pair,” Stafford said. “And I said sure.”

Today, it appears to have been the right choice as the USRowing Training Center – Oklahoma City crew defeated the three other boats from the 14 crews that came to Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J., to row in the 2012 Olympic Trials – Rowing in a last attempt to make the team that will race in London.

They were the last crew to be named to the Olympic team today, pending final approval from the United States Olympic Committee after winning their respective events. Earlier in the day, three athletes were named to the team in the men’s single sculls and women’s pair.

Silas told the San Jose Mercury News that he let out a “barbaric yelp” when crossing the finish line:

“That was three years of suffering that’s been sitting down in my belly and finally just needed to come out, ” he said.

Here is a link to colleague Michael Coit’s story about Silas.

Congratulations, Silas. What an incredible story.

For those who want to understand why someone would even think about such an adventure, here is Silas telling his story in the summer of 2010.