Wide photo of the Canadian women's eight rowing crew in race actionTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Sydney Payne

Team Canada Medal Count

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


In her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, Sydney Payne was a member of the women’s eight that won gold. 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.

Payne first raced for Canada at the 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships, taking fifth place in the pair. The next time she raced with the maple leaf on her oar was at the 2017 World Rowing U23 Championships where she and the eight set a U23 world’s best time en route to the gold medal. 

The following year she made her senior international debut, rowing with the eight to a silver at a World Cup stop in Lucerne, Switzerland. Two weeks after that, she was back with the U23 eight, successfully defending their gold medal at the world championships. Later that summer, she rejoined the senior eight to compete at her first World Rowing Championships and won a silver medal on her 21st birthday. 

In 2019, Payne competed at two World Cup events, first in the pair in Poznan, Poland and then in the four in Rotterdam, Netherlands. She finished fourth at each event. It was with the women’s four that Payne competed at the 2019 World Championships. They finished second in the B final, qualifying the boat for Tokyo 2020.  

Payne raced collegiately at the University of California from 2016 to 2019. In her freshman year she won gold at the NCAA Championships with the second varsity eight and the Golden Bears won the overall team title. In her sophomore season she went undefeated in the regular season with the varsity eight and finished third at the NCAA Championships. As a junior, the eight crew went undefeated again in the regular season. This time they capped off the year with a gold at the NCAA Championships as well as win the overall team championship for the second time in Payne’s time at Cal. Her senior season included a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

A Little More About Sydney

Getting into the Sport: Started rowing in the summer of 2012 at age 15… Rows with the Brentwood College Rowing Club… Outside Interests: Enjoys cooking, skiing, card games… Attended the University of California… Odds and Ends: Formerly a competitive alpine skier…

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
Tokyo 2020 RowingCoxed Eight - WomenGold

Notable International Results

Olympic Games: 2020 - GOLD (W8+)

World Rowing Championships: 2019 - 8th (W4-); 2018 - SILVER (W8+)

World Rowing Championships (U23): 2018 - GOLD (W8+); 2017 - GOLD (W8+)

World Rowing Championships (junior): 2015 - 5th (W2-)