Todd Vogt's Extraordinary Rowing Journey

Todd Vogt started his rowing career at the University of Buffalo in 1992, and has since won more medals than we can count on our hands. He not only competed, he also coached all over the world. But, Todd is not your average rower. In August 2018, Todd got news that he thought would end his athletic career. 

Todd’s Life Before the News

Todd started rowing in 1992, his freshman year of college at the University of Buffalo in New York. He had been the team captain his senior year, which lead him to row after college as a masters rower. He competed in numerous competitions including the Head of the Charles, US Nationals, and the Canadian Henley. After college all while still competing himself he went off to be a coach in Portland, Oregon. Many years of coaching followed in Philadelphia (The Hometown of Boathouse), Vermont, Oregon, Wisconsin. 

Then the Unthinkable Happened

In August of 2018, Todd received news that no athlete would ever think would happen to them. At the time Todd was a rower on a team in Portland, Oregon. He received devastating news that could have ruined his athletic career. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 43. It hit him all of a sudden and he thought his career as a but that did NOT stop him from doing what he loved. He was invited to the Paralympic selection camp in the spring of this year and attended the camp in Boston this summer. He rowed in the PR3 mixed 4+ at the World Rowing Cup 2 back in June in Poznan, Poland, winning the event. Along with that he also won the trial in Princeton in July to represent the US in the PR3 2- at the World Championships. The most recent he participated in the World Championships in Linz, Austria in August and finished in 6th in the PR3 Men's 2.

How Todd Stays Fueled While Training

Since Todd has rowed a majority of his life, it is safe to say his advice is pretty reputable. He loves the physical and mental challenge of the sport, and he needs fuel to stay healthy and full of energy, especially now. We asked what his go to foods were while training so you can stay energized like him. Before practice Todd will have a bowl of granola with milk, blueberries and walnuts. And you can’t forget the protein after a good workout, Todd usually reaches for hard boiled eggs, toast with butter, peanut butter and honey and to top it all off a cup of coffee for an extra boost. Diet is key to grow as  strong athlete, if you want to be a champion you have to train and eat like one too (click here to read more about how Champions Diet)

Todd’s Pump-Up Playlist

You can’t tell me that you don’t have a workout playlist, every rower has those few songs that get them through that last set of sprints Todd told us he has several playlists that consist of at least 100 songs each but he picked 3 of his favorites to share with all of you: 

  • Toy - Young Fathers
  • No Shelter - Rage Against the Machine
  • Blockbuster Night Part 1 - Run the Jewels
  • These songs may be different than your everyday pop songs but check them out! They may just improve your training. (Stay Tuned: Boathouse is creating a playlist of our own and these songs just might be featured.)


    The Highlight of Todd's Career

    There’s the good and the bad experiences that every rower goes through at least one time in their career and there’s that one race you can’t forget. Todd's was his very first Head of the Charles race in 2004, and as many of you know that can be intimidating as it is no matter how many times you go. Todd’s first time there It was a terrible day; cold, overcast, windy and rainy. The conditions were so bad that the course was even shortened. At the time he raced in the club 4 but despite the conditions of the weather and the pressure they pushed through and finished 3rd overall. That was just 1 of the many races he placed in.

    Coming to Terms with His New Reality

    After all that has gone on in Todd’s life he still loves rowing as much as the day he started and he shared this piece of advice to rowers, especially ones going through hardships during their athletic career. He said:

    “Try not to be too hard on yourself if you can't do everything you were once capable of. Do what you can. One of the harder things to deal with was coming to terms with my new body which doesn't move as well and isn't as strong as it used to be. At first this feeling made me not want to row as I was unable to perform up to what I thought was an acceptable level. I had to come to terms with the new reality a bit.”


    BOATHOUSE U.S.A. Crew Grey / Small