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Chris Ahrens
Personal information
Full nameChristian Ahrens
BornJuly 24, 1976 (1976-07-24) (age 47)
Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.
Medal record
Men's rowing
Representing  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2004 Athens Eight
World Rowing Championships
Gold medal – first place 1995 Tampere M4+
Gold medal – first place 1997 Aiguebelette M8+
Gold medal – first place 1998 Cologne M8+
Gold medal – first place 1999 St. Catharines M8+

Christian Ahrens (born July 24, 1976 in Iowa City, Iowa) is a former American rower.[1] He is a dual Olympian, an Olympic gold medal winner, and a four-time world champion.

Early life

Ahrens was born in Iowa City, Iowa, on July 24, 1976, to Gary and Patricia Ahrens. His father, Gary, had rowed in high school and at Milwaukee Rowing Club. When Christian was only six years old, his father began teaching him how to row in a flat-bottom boat tied to a clothesline on the Milwaukee River. He began rowing more seriously his freshman year of high school, again coached by his father, after deciding that he "wasn't going to go anywhere in swimming."[2]


Ahrens is a 1998 graduate of Princeton University who rowed for the Princeton Tigers and the United States national team. He was honored by The Daily Princetonian as the 18th most successful athlete in the school's history.[3]

International rowing career

Ahrens stroked the gold medal winning United States men's eight at the 1997, 1998, and 1999 world championships, and was in the six seat for their fifth place 2000 Sydney Olympic boat. Ahrens came out of retirement in 2004 to join the US Olympic squad in the three seat of the gold medal winning boat. This boat was notable not only for being the first US eight to win Olympic gold since 1964, but it also set a new course and world record of 5:19.85.[4] That world best time stood until a Canadian eight took half a second off it in 2012.

Ahrens retired from international rowing immediately upon crossing the finish line at the 2004 Olympics. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters.


  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Chris Ahrens". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2020-04-18.
  2. ^ Writer, Philip Hersh, Tribune Olympic Sports. "HIS FATHER TAUGHT HIM HOW TO ROW ON THE MILWAUKEE RIVER AT AGE 6 AND NOW CHRIS AHRENS IS THE NATION'S TOP STROKE IN ITS ROWING PROGRAM". Retrieved 2021-08-12.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "The Daily Princetonian Top 20 Greatest Athletes". Archived from the original on 2014-03-13. Retrieved 2014-03-13.
  4. ^ "Christian Ahrens". World Rowing. Retrieved 2019-07-13.