Who is Para-Rower Todd Vogt? And what happened to him?

Professional para rower Todd Vogt, 49, will compete for the United States in the next Paris Paralympics in 2024. He suffers from Parkinson’s disease. He is thought to be among the top elite para-rowers.

Parkinson’s changed Todd Vogt’s course into para-rowing, and now he’s going to Paris

Parkinson’s disease changed Todd Vogt’s direction into para-rowing, and now he is going to Paris. Vogt, together with Saige Harper, was chosen for the PR3 mixed double sculls crew. This crew will represent the United States at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Vogt has been part of the national team four times. He was in the crew that won silver in this event at the 2023 world championships in Belgrade, Serbia. Winning silver earned an automatic qualification spot for Paris. Vogt’s participation in Paris was then confirmed after a United States selection camp in January.

“I was lucky enough to have the support system of my wife and have been immersed in the sport of rowing at that time. I was lucky enough that I was still fit and rowing enough where I could make the transition back to being competitive.”

Vogt said

Todd Vogt is diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

Todd Vogt was born on August 31, 1974, and he is currently 49 years old. He has an older sister named Cny Vogt, who is a food nutritionist.

Todd with his Elder sister Cny Vogt
Image: Todd with his Elder sister Cny Vogt (Source: Todd’s Instagram)

When Todd was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and learned about the chance to train for the National Paralympic Rowing Team, he asked his double coach Susan Wood to coach him to achieve his dream of becoming a Paralympian.

“Not only is he an amazing athlete, but Todd also works harder than anyone I have met.”

Susan Wood says,

Todd graduated with a degree in biochemistry from the University of Buffalo. When he is not training, Todd likes to drink coffee, watch movies, and ride scooters around his home in Portland, Oregon

 How The Unthinkable Happened To Todd?

While training for the 2017 Head of the Charles, a competitive race in Boston, Massachusetts, something felt different to Todd. His rowing technique, which he spent years perfecting, felt wrong. He also felt unusually tired and weak but brushed it off as getting old or overtraining.

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Unfortunately, the fatigue got worse and the following spring he developed a tremor in his left hand, and his left arm no longer swung when he walked. After several months of tests, he was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease just before his 44th birthday.

Is Todd Vogt Married?

Yes, Todd is married to his wife Heather Vogt.

Todd with his Wife Turtle Heathie
Image: Todd with his Wife THeather Vogt (Todd’s Instagram)

The couple travels together to various places and Heather always supports Todd.

How Todd Vogt Accepted himself and start his Career

He started rowing after seeing a flier in the freshman dorm that sounded interesting. Vogt is a native of Rochester, New York. He first took up rowing in 1992 when he saw a poster outside his freshman dorm room at the University of Buffalo that said: “Meet friends and get fit.” He did not know anything about rowing but the sign persuaded him to attend the first meeting, where he watched an inspiring video of a collegiate race.

Todd joined the rowing team as a freshman at the University of Buffalo and quickly fell in love with the sport. He was particularly drawn to the physical and mental challenge of it. As a rower, he loved the training, the team atmosphere, and the identity it provided him. He rowed all throughout college and continued to row competitively for several years after college.

Also See: American Rower Saige Harper Age, Family, Biography

After finding out he has Parkinson’s Disease, he thought about how he could continue to row competitively and wondered if he could be designated as an adaptive athlete. He reached out to USRowing, the governing body of the sport, to understand the possibilities. This led to a Paralympic training camp invitation and representing the USA at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria. He came in sixth place in the race.

Vogt’s Extraordinary Coaching Career

Vogt began his coaching career in 2005 as an assistant with Lake Oswego Community Rowing in Portland, where he worked with both young and experienced rowers. He rowed at the University of Buffalo for four years and with the West Side Rowing Club in Buffalo (1997-2000) and the Portland Boat Club (2000-2013) after college.

A native of Rochester, New York, Vogt also has major club coaching experience. He was the head coach for the Portland Women’s Rowing Club (2011-2012) and spent his summers coaching places such as the Pennsylvania Athletic Club and the Craftsbury Sculling Center in Vermont. While at the Pennsylvania Athletic Club, the lightweight eight-boat Vogt coached won at the US Rowing Club Nationals.

Todd Vogt is an assistant coach for the Wisconsin women’s lightweight rowing team. His highlights include coaching the Lightweight 4+ to finish first at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship in 2016 and 2014. He also led the lightweight novices to a first-place finish in the 3rd Varsity 8+ event at the 2016 Eastern Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges (EAWRC) Sprints as well as first-place finishes in the Lightweight Novice 4+ event in 2015 and 2014 at EAWRC Sprints.

Vogt is a USRowing Certified Level 2 Coach.

The Professional Highlight Of Todd’s Career

Vogt continued to row competitively throughout college and for the next 20 years, including in senior masters competitions, while also coaching rowers of all ages for the last 15 years.

Since then, he has been the alternate for the US Paralympic Rowing Team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He represented the US in the PR3 mixed-gender double scull event at the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic, finishing in 5th place.

In the 2022 Gavirate International Paralympic Regatta, he and his partner represented the USA national team where they won the gold medal.

This past summer he represented the US in the PR3 mixed double sculls event (PR3 mix 2x) at the 2023 World Rowing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, alongside his partner, Gemma Wollenschlager. It was a wild and fun adventure. Their training camp in Boston, Massachusetts, was brutal with many hard days. He was happy to survive the last couple of weeks in one piece and felt ready to take on the world.

They won the gold medal in the race.

He is currently training nearly full-time with the goal to win a medal at the 2024 Paralympics in Paris, France.