Kara Kohler is first U.S. rower to qualify for Tokyo Olympics

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Kara Kohler, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist who didn’t make the 2016 Olympic team, is going back to the Games.

Kohler became the first U.S. rower to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics — and the first U.S. athlete from any sport to qualify since July — by winning the single sculls at the first of up to three trials events across the disciplines.

Women’s single sculls was the only event at this week’s trials that produced an Olympic qualifier.

MORE: Full list of U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

Kohler, 30, won a four-woman final that also included Gevvie Stone, the 2016 Olympic single sculls silver medalist who put a medical career on hold to pursue a third Games.

Stone, 35, was bidding to become the oldest U.S. man or woman to compete in single sculls at the Olympics, according to Olympedia.org.

Kohler clocked 7 minutes, 23.37 seconds in the 2,000-meter race, beating Stone by 3.8 seconds on Friday morning in Sarasota, Florida.

Kohler, who earned bronze at London 2012 in the quadruple sculls, switched to the individual event in 2018 after missing the Rio Games.

At the most recent world championships in 2019, Kohler and the stalwart women’s eight brought home all of the U.S. medals in Olympic events — all bronze. Kohler was named U.S. Female Rower of the Year.

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