Tokyo Olympics 2020: Lucy Stephan's parents joy in rowing gold

PROUD: Lucy Stephan's parents Gus and Mandy Stephan, pictured ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Picture: Wimmera Mail-Times
PROUD: Lucy Stephan's parents Gus and Mandy Stephan, pictured ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Picture: Wimmera Mail-Times

Proud mum Mandy Stephan says what her daughter Lucy showed in a gold medal race on the water was what "country kids with big hearts" could achieve.

Lucy Stephan, aged 29, grew up in Nhill - a town with no water for years - and learned to row as a boarder at Ballarat Grammar when Lake Wendouree was dry.

Today she won her first Olympic medal - a gold with the women's four crew.

The Stephan family - including mum Mandy, dad Gus and brother Oscar with his girlfriend - watched history unfold in the women's four in Tokyo from the family farm on Wednesday morning.

Mandy just wants to give her daughter a big hug but the tyranny of distance and the pandemic kept the family from being course-side as they have been for other international meets.

But Mandy said the feeling of watching her daughter win gold was simply "amazing".

"We're country people and haven't even got green and gold about the house. We were just hoping the girls would just do their best," Mandy said.

"I went for walks with the dogs this morning but my husband is a different personality, he had his computer and the telly going. We saw the wind and were hoping the girls could just have a good race.

 Lucy Stephan returns to Nhill in 2016 to thank a town behind her Olympic campaign. Picture: Wimmera Mail-Times

Lucy Stephan returns to Nhill in 2016 to thank a town behind her Olympic campaign. Picture: Wimmera Mail-Times

"This is good for rowing, it's good for Ballarat and good for the Wimmera and the Mallee ... Country kids do have big hearts, they can row and they can play sports."

This is the second Olympics for Stephan, a 2009 Ballarat Associated Schools' Head of the Lake winner, who was a late call-up with the women's right in Rio 2016.

"She's a little one, one British commentator described her as diminutive, and has such a big heart," Mandy said.

"Luce went away to school and found rowing and loved the boat. She always says she love the feel of rowing and being in the boat. She got addicted to the sport.

"She was always wanting to play a sport and you've got to find the one you love."

As the Stephan's family phones started to ring off the hook, they could hardly wait for the call they want most a chance just to talk to their Luce.

This story 'Country kids do have big hearts': Lucy Stephan's parents joy in Olympic gold first appeared on The Courier.