Ms. Namita Nayyar: Who has been your biggest influence and motivation in your path to success ?
Ms. Esther Lofgren: The biggest influence has been looking up to my mentors and idols and being hopeful enough, and believing enough in myself, at the beginning–and at the hard parts of all of this–that I had what it took to make my dreams a reality. The night before we raced in London, I thought back of everyone who encouraged me, helped me, taught me, coached me, supported me, and even those who were discouraging but didn’t know how much I wanted to prove myself from those interactions. I think the desire to be my best self and knowing that could be a really awesome thing–that’s what has, and continues to drive me!
Ms. Namita Nayyar: What is your advice for girls who wish to make rowing as their career?
Ms. Esther Lofgren: Well–first, focus on school, because at least in the U.S., you need a job besides rowing even to be a “professional” rower! Second, it’s really important to work on improving yourself–your fitness and your technique–and you do that by working not only on the things you’re good at but especially on the things that you’re bad at! It’s harder, but you’ll get better and in the end, you’ll be your best. Third, just as important as being your best is learning how to make others be their best when they’re rowing with you.
Enhancing others’ strengths and balancing out their weaknesses is how your boat will go the fastest. And fourth, be a good teammate! There are no superstars in rowing–it is the whole crew that makes the boat go fast when you trust each other and all the work you have put in before you get to the starting line. The racing is the fun part!
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You have been involved with the Washington, DC chapter of Athletes Without Limits. Tell us about this noble endeavour of yours?
Ms. Esther Lofgren: After meeting some of the Paralympic and ID (intellectually disabled) athletes after the London Games, as well as moving to Washington, DC which is home to the National Military Hospital (Walter Reed), I learned firsthand about the difference that sports can make in recovering from a devastating injury–as well as had the realization that, as sheepish as I am for not knowing before, ID athletes love the journey, the training, racing, and working every day to get a little better at something the same way that I and other non-ID athletes do. I’m really happy to support my AWL teammates as they work towards the World Championships and Paralympics in 2016!
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You are world leading women rower, model, writer, blogger and motivational speaker. How you are able to manage such a remarkable multi-dimensional, multi-faceted lifestyle?
Ms. Esther Lofgren: I don’t sleep as much as I’d like. 🙂 Seriously, though, I am lucky enough to have an amazing boyfriend who, instead of being angry when I tell him my flight’s landing at 2am, asks if I need a ride home from the airport. I also work full-time for a great company that supports my athletic and charitable work and gives me the flexibility to travel and train because they know that I still get my work done!
Even though I have a hard time saying no to new projects or to getting involved with a great cause, it’s inspiring to know that the work we are doing is changing lives and making a difference. I was lucky enough to have some amazing role models to look up to as a kid–and now, women in the business and athletic world who truly seem to do it all!–and trying to be like them continues to inspire me.
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