Todd started rowing in 1992 as a freshman in college at the University of Buffalo, in Buffalo, NY. He was hooked immediately on the sport, with its mental and physical challenge. He rowed all four years of college and was team captain his senior year. After completing his undergraduate degree, he stayed in Buffalo working on a Masters Degree in Biochemistry and continuing to row seriously. During this time his racing highlights included winning medals at the US National Championships from 1997 to 2000.
In 2001 he and his wife moved to Portland and he continued to row and train in the Masters category. During this time, he worked in a lab at OHSU and in 2005 he began coaching rowing. For a few years he worked part-time at OHSU, coached part-time, and continued to train and compete. In 2009, he began coaching rowing as his primary occupation. He coached at a variety of places including Willamette University, University of Portland, and a four-year stint from 2013-2017 coaching the University of Wisconsin Women’s Rowing Team. He is currently the Women’s Coach at Station L Rowing Club here in Portland.
Todd moved back to Portland in 2017 and things began to change physically for him. He noticed he was unusually fatigued that fall during his training for a large rowing competition. He didn’t think much of it. During the spring of 2018 the fatigue worsened and he developed a tremor in his left hand and foot. After several months of testing he was formally diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease in August of 2018 at age 44. He was devastated and thought his athletic days were over.
After a few months he started slowly training again. In early 2019 he reached out to US Rowing inquiring about getting classified as an adaptive athlete. After several months he was classified as a Paralympic athlete and reached out to the Head Coach of the US Paralympic Rowing Team. The Head Coach asked for some results on the rowing machine and video of Todd on the water, and with that invited him to Boston to compete for a spot on the US Paralympic National Rowing Team.
He had a wild summer in Boston. Early in the summer he raced at the World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland, in a mixed-gender four-person boat finishing in 1st place for the US. Eventually, he ended up in a two-person boat and raced in the PR3 Men’s Pair event at the World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria, finishing in 6th place.
He currently training full-time to earn a spot in the mixed gender four-person boat that will race at the Tokyo Paralympics. He is training 12-14 times a week, sometimes more. He is on the water training six mornings a week, lifting three times a week, get in a session or two a week on the rowing machine in the altitude room, plus time on the bike.