USRowing hires Darling as director of Paralympic rowing

By Allison Fredrick | May 22, 2013, 4:54 p.m. (ET)

PRINCETON, N.J. – USRowing is pleased to announce that three-time Olympian Tom Darling, a pioneer in adaptive rowing efforts, has agreed to serve as the Director of Para-Rowing and will head the United States’ efforts toward the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Darling, who won silver in the men’s eight at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, has worked and coached in adaptive rowing for the past four years and has helped lead the adaptive rowing program at Community Rowing, Inc., in Boston, Mass.

Through his years in adaptive sport, Darling has worked with the Veteran’s Administration, the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, Mass., and companies that manufacture adaptive rowing equipment.

He worked to include adaptive rowing at the C.R.A.S.H.—B. World Indoor Rowing Championships and in 2010, persuaded CRI to apply to become a Paralympic Sports Club though a program designed by the United States Olympic Committee and the Veteran’s Administration.

“It will be a challenge, but a lot of fun I’m sure,” said Darling. “I’m very excited about it. I felt it was a great opportunity to work in an area that I’ve been working in as a volunteer for the last three years, and it will give me some credibility to get some things done that we have been trying to get done in this area for a couple of years. I am very excited about the possibility of bringing in some of the people that do what I’ve been doing and help out the population that could use it.”

As the Director of Para-Rowing, Darling will not be directly coaching athletes but will be tasked with directing and managing the association’s programs and staff for the U.S. National Para-Rowing Teams, focusing on the development of a high performance plan moving toward the 2016 Paralympic Games.

“One of my main goals is to engage the athletes and find out what they need,” Darling said. “I talked to one athlete out in Oklahoma who said what they need is a coach. He said they haven’t had a coach in the last nine months. We need to develop a comprehensive training program that you can give to the athlete, so they can train and they can have a coach who can watch how they row, help them with the rigging, get them equipment, set up programs so they can get ready for trials, or the worlds, or wherever they are headed.”

Darling also will be assisting USRowing High Performance Director Curtis Jordon and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Merry with maintaining relationships with stakeholder associations like the United States Olympic Committee, the National Rowing Foundation and FISA.

"I am extremely pleased that Tom has accepted the position of Para-Rowing Director for USRowing,” said Jordan. “Tom’s experience as a three-time Olympian and his passion for the sport of rowing have found a home helping to coach, encourage and support our Paralympic rowers. In this position, Tom will have the ability to create a pathway for athletes, support systems and funding to work together building a strong High Performance Paralympic Program for Rio 2016.