by Nancy Alexander
Meet Kris Thorsness of Victor, NY. If you want to be inspired, get to know Kris. She is 56 and she’ll be the first to tell you that you have a choice to live or die… “You have a choice every day,” says Kris. Let me tell you, she lives.
At 24, she won Olympic Gold as a rower in the 1984 Olympics. I love looking at her medal. If only it could talk and tell you everything she went through to achieve that goal. She is modest. “The training was a lot, it was very focused, but it was simple,” Kris says. “I didn’t have time for anything else. It’s all I did.”
You might wonder where does one go after winning Olympic Gold, arguable the pinnacle of all sports achievement, at the age of 24. You set a new goal, then another new goal, and then another. “If you’re not pushing yourself, you’re stagnating,” says Kris. “It’s all about perspective.” Right after the Olympics she focused on getting her law degree. She took a few years off from rowing but then got back into it. Just this past March, she was appointed to the Board of Directors for US Rowing.
Enter another new goal at age 50… playing ice hockey. “I was speaking to a rowing friend in Wisconsin on the phone and asked her what she was up to. She said she was playing hockey on a women’s team.” “Well that’s pretty cool,” Kris thought. “I’d like to try that.” That day she called a local rink and inquired about any learn to skate programs. She last skated in 6th grade and now was setting her mind on playing hockey. This lady goes for it. Call it luck or call it serendipity, that night this rink was starting a program to learn to play hockey. “But I don’t have any equipment,” said Kris to the man on the phone. He responded, “Well, we have a pro shop.”
The rest is history. She bought all her gear that day including skates and she was on the ice that night learning how to play hockey. She now plays on the Canandaigua Ladies women’s ice hockey team and is about to start her 5th year. She’s good too. She plays defense and by the way, don’t mess with her goalieJ
“I’ve heard sitting is the new smoking,” says Kris. She believes this. She’s had her share of injuries along the way as well as a heart attack. She is smart and taking care of herself. “I’m older, I get sore and I take longer to recover,” she added. “That doesn’t mean I don’t push myself.” “You have to keep pushing… that is how I’ve achieved my goals,” says Kris. She added, “Sitting is the new smoking… especially after 50… especially after 50.”