World

Rio 2016: Cuban-born rower Robin Prendes pleased to be facing Olympic challenge

CHUNGJU, SOUTH KOREA - AUGUST 30:  Robert Duff, William Daly, Anthony Fahden and Robin Prendes of United States compete in the Lightweight Men's Four final during day six of the 2013 World Rowing Championships on August 30, 2013 in Chungju, South Korea.  (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

CHUNGJU, SOUTH KOREA - AUGUST 30: Robert Duff, William Daly, Anthony Fahden and Robin Prendes of United States compete in the Lightweight Men's Four final during day six of the 2013 World Rowing Championships on August 30, 2013 in Chungju, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)  (2013 Getty Images)

Robin Prendes is a nine-time national and 2012 Olympian competing on the men’s coxless lightweight four rowing team, and if everything goes according to plan, this year he will be taking home the gold from the Rio Games.

Prendes, 26, is a native of Matanzas, Cuba, but he grew up in Miami. He went to Princeton and graduated with an economics degree, and he trained as a younger rower with the Miami Rowing Club. 

Prendes was on the lightweight four team that finished eighth in London in 2012, fifth at the 2013 world championships and second at this summer’s Pan Am Games. 

At a glance

Name: Robin Prendes

Age: 26

Discipline: Men’s  lightweight four

Position: Bow

Begins competition: Sat. Aug.6 11AM

He started training at US Rowing's Oklahoma City training facilty last year, which includes an altitude-training room equipped to simulate a 12,000-foot thin-air environment.

“Everybody reacts differently to altitude, and you have to moderate it to make sure your body is adapting properly,” he told the Miami Herald last September. “A couple rowers got sick right away and dropped it. But I didn’t have any dramatic setbacks.” 

More On This...

Even so, he fell off the national lightweight four crew for a time in 2015. 

"I just stagnated," he told the paper. "It wasn’t clear to me that my performance was suffering until it was too late for me to make the boat. Immediately after I got off altitude training, I got a personal best in a 2,000-meter rowing machine test of aerobic fitness.”

He worked his way back onto the team, though, and maintained a positive attitude.

“As opposed to the last four years, the lightweight group is significantly more competitive,” Prendes said. “The outlook is much better than it was for London.”

His teammates include Tyler Nase, Edward King and 2012 Olympian Anthony Fahden.

The team told KFOR they're thankful to represent Team USA and Oklahoma in the 2016 Olympics.

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter & Instagram