Rowing crew celebrates winLeah Hennel/COC
Leah Hennel/COC

Kristen Kit

Team Canada Medal Count

Gold medal icon 1
Silver medal icon 0
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Kristen Kit was the coxswain of the Canadian women’s eight crew that won gold in her Olympic debut 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.

Kit first represented Canada internationally with the women’s eight at the 2009 U23 World Rowing Championships. Following a fourth-place finish there, she helped the eight win bronze at the 2010 U23 Worlds.  

In 2012, Kit joined the para rowing mixed coxed four for a World Cup and the Paralympic Games in London, where they won the B final. The next year, Kit joined the senior women’s eight, winning bronze at the World Cup in Lucerne and the 2013 World Rowing Championships in South Korea. 

Kit was back with the mixed coxed four in 2015, winning bronze at the world championships to earn the team a spot at the 2016 Paralympic Games. In her second appearance at the Paralympics, she achieved a career highlight as she guided the mixed coxed four crew to bronze for Canada’s first ever Paralympic Games medal in rowing. Prior to the Games, she won her first World Cup gold with the mixed coxed four in Poznan, Poland. 

In 2017, returned to the able-bodied national team. As the coxswain for the women’s eight, she helped Canada get through the repechages at the 2017 and 2018 World Championships to win silver medals. 

Kit encountered some adversity in 2019 when she broke her collarbone less than a week after returning home from the last World Cup stop of the season, where the eight had won bronze. Her injury required surgery but just four days after going under the knife, she was back out on the lake, preparing for the world championships which would double as the Olympic qualifier. Only 20 days after the procedure, she embarked on a four-flight, 21-hour trip to Austria to join the rest of the national team. Despite losing all arm and shoulder strength on her left side, she persevered with the support of her teammates and steered the eight to a fourth-place finish at the world championships, which secured Canada’s spot in the event for Tokyo 2020. 

Kit raced collegiately at the University of British Columbia, highlighted by a victory with the women’s eight at the Henley Royal Regatta in 2006. She is also a semi-pro road cyclist on the UCI Women’s Continental Tour for InstaFund La Prima Racing.

A Little More About Kristen

Getting into the Sport: Began rowing in 2002 in St. Catharines, Ontario, one of Canada’s rowing centres… Her grandfather was the teacher advisor who started the rowing team at her high school while she was in Grade 9… Coxed her first race in April 2003 but didn’t actually know how to steer the boat; her team still won despite crossing the width of the course multiple times… Slept in her car for three weeks the first summer trying out for the U23 national team because she didn’t want to miss the opportunity… Has dreamed of competing for Canada since watching the giant Canadian flag unfurled at the Nagano 1998 Closing Ceremony… Outside Interests: Pursuing a degree in economics at the University of Victoria… Enjoys mountain biking, coffee, donuts, indulging in expensive Italian red wine when she can… RBC Olympian… Works part time for LA-based startup Waltzin in the restaurant booking sector… Odds and Ends: Favourite motto: “Be SMART, GRIND, and EVALUATE… then do it again! Never stop pushing myself forward.”… Collects pennies that she would one day like to have as her bathroom or mud room floor…

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
Tokyo 2020 RowingCoxed Eight - WomenGold

Notable International Results

Olympic Games: 2020 - GOLD (W8+)

Paralympic Games: 2016 - BRONZE (LTA4+); 2012 - 7th (LTA4+)

World Rowing Championships: 2019 - 4th (W8+); 2018 - SILVER (W8+); 2017 - SILVER (W8+); 2015 - BRONZE (LTA4+); 2013 - BRONZE (W8+)

World Rowing Championships (U23): 2010 - BRONZE (W8+); 2009 - 4th (W8+)