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Home > Athletes > Silken Laumann > Biography
Biography of Silken Laumann
Silken Suzette Laumann, MSC (born November 14, 1964 in Mississauga, Ontario) is a Canadian champion rower.

Starting in 1976, Laumann won a number of awards, including a gold medal in quadruple sculls at the U.S. Championships, two gold medals in single sculls at the Pan American Games, a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics in the double sculls with her sister Daniele. At the 1988 Olympics, Laumann finished seventh in the double scull. Laumann won a silver medal in single sculls at the 1990 World Championships, and the gold medal at the following year's World Championships.

Arguably the most famous incident in Laumann's life was during her training leading up to the 1992 Summer Olympics. One of the odds-on favourites to capture a gold medal, her shell was involved in a collision with the boat of German coxless pair team Colin von Ettinghausen and Peter Hoeltzenbein on May 15, 1992. Despite serious injuries to her leg (in her words, "I looked at the leg for a few seconds and knew it was serious when my muscle was hanging at my ankle and I could see the bone"[1]), five operations and a total stay in the hospital of approximately three weeks, Laumann was back on the water training by late June. Her efforts paid off with a bronze medal, and she was subsequently named Canadian of the Year by the Canadian Club in recognition and was selected to carry the Canadian Flag in the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.

After a one-year absence to allow the injury to heal further, Laumann resumed competing in 1994, and she won a silver at the 1995 World Championships. She also won a gold medal as part of a quad sculls team at the 1995 Pan American Games, but was subsequently stripped of the medals after testing positive for pseudoephedrine (which she claimed to have accidentally ingested due to a mix-up in what cold medicine she could safely use). Her final competitive race was at the 1996 Summer Olympics, where Silken won a silver medal in single sculls. She formally announced her retirement three years later.

Laumann was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and was awarded the Thomas Keller Medal in 1999 for her outstanding international rowing career.

She now lives in Victoria, British Columbia and is a sought after public speaker.
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