Date of Birth:
January 14, 1968
City/State of Birth:
San Francisco, California
Olympics and Events Attended:
1996 Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia, USA - Rowing
Honebein began rowing in a club in San Francisco when he was a freshman in high school. He was looking for a way to stay fit for basketball, which both his father and brother played. It was somewhat assumed that he would play basketball as well. Rowing, however, was a sport that he immediately loved for the hard training and team environment.
After graduating from UC Berkeley in December 1991, Honebein focused on finding a job and earning a paycheck. Unfortunately, this was during the height of the recession and the best he could do was ripping out carpet from houses and earning $8.00 an hour. In 1992 after watching the Olympics from Barcelona he saw a few guys whom he had trained with in high school and college. One month later he quit his job, loaded his truck and was heading to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to begin training and chasing a dream. Ten months after watching the 1992 Olympics, Honebein was representing the United States at the World Championships in Prague, The Czech Republic. For the next four years he was a member of the U.S. National team competing in Europe, South America and Asia. Honebein was captain of the United States Olympic men's eight-oared crew from 1993 to 1996. "Winning the World Championships in 1994 was by far the biggest highlight of my career," he said. Honebein was the U.S. Rowing Athlete of the Year in 1995. Honebein led his boat to a fifth-place finish at the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta.
Honebein started coming to Steamboat Springs in 1994 during the off-season to be with his then-girlfriend and now wife, Annie Kakela. He really liked the environment in Steamboat for a number of reasons:
1. The respect and admiration the community had for all athletes (winter or summer).
2. The support shown for a transplant like himself.
3. The training environment. Although there is no water to row on, the altitude and cross training activities allowed him to build his cardiovascular skills while being in a picturesque setting.
4. Knowing other Olympians (winter and summer) had trained here gave him focus. "There is nothing like tradition to keep one motivated to achieve their goals," he says.
When Honebein retired from competition, he and Annie moved back to Steamboat Springs in 1996. School and jobs later took them away from Steamboat but they still return for a month in the summer and three weeks in the winter. Being rowing coaches at Oregon State University allows them flexibility and they eventually want to reside here as soon as Colorado Mountain College starts a rowing team!