Event In Yale Law School Auditorium At 7 p.m.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The seven Yale athletes who competed in the 2012 Olympics in August will share their memorable experiences from the Games in a panel discussion on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Yale Law School Auditorium. The event, hosted by the Yale Athletics Department, is free and open to the public.
Rowers Ashley Brzozowicz ’04, Charlie Cole ’07, Tess Gerrand ’10, Jamie Redman ’08 and Taylor Ritzel ’10 and sailors Sarah Lihan ’10 and Stuart McNay ’05 will reflect on their time in London and the impact Yale had on their dreams of competing in the Olympics.
Ron Vaccaro ’04, who has covered five Olympics for NBC and is currently Editorial Director for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network in addition to serving as the voice of Yale football on WELI, will serve as the moderator. A reception will follow the panel discussion.
Yale and the Olympic Games have a long and rich history. Since 1904, nearly 200 Yalies have competed in the Games. This summer in London, the seven Yale athletes added to that Olympic lore, winning three medals - as many or more than 36 countries that competed in the Games.
Ritzel ’10 became the first Yalie since 1984 to win a gold medal when she helped the United States eight to victory in the women’s rowing final. Ritzel’s crew edged a Canadian eight that featured Brzozowicz, who earned a silver medal. Gerrand, sitting in the Australian eight, finished sixth in the final, while Redman served as a spare for the United States.
The four women’s rowers all honed their skills under the direction of current Yale head coach Will Porter. Ritzel and Gerrand were teammates for four years and helped the Bulldogs to three NCAA varsity eight titles. Redman was a part of two of those championships, while Brzozowicz, a two-time Olympian, played a key role in the resurgence of the Yale women's crew program. She sat in the No. 6 seat in the Bulldogs' varsity eight that finished second at the 2004 NCAA Championships. Yale was second as a team that year, which remains the best finish in school history.
In the men’s four rowing Olympic final, Cole sat in the No. 3 seat and helped the U.S. to a bronze medal, the first medal for a Yale heavyweight rower since 1996.
For Cole, the 2011 USRowing Athlete of Year, the Olympics were just another in a long list of famous regattas he has participated in. In 2006, he helped the Bulldogs varsity eight win the Yale-Harvard Regatta, and two years later, while doing post graduate work, he helped Oxford win the historic Oxford-Cambridge race in England.
Like the rowers, McNay and Lihan drew the attention of USA sailing with their success at Yale under the tutelage of head coach Zachary Leonard. The two both garnered numerous ICSA All-American and honorable mention awards while leading Yale to several top finishes at the nationals.
Lihan, who sailed with Connecticut College graduate Amanda Clark in the women's 470 class, finished ninth. McNay and his crew, Graham Biehl, missed qualifying for the men's 470 medal race by a mere five points, placing 14th place out of 27 nations.
The panel discussion is the first of a number of weekend events celebrating Yale’s Olympians, including having the seven honored at halftime of Saturday’s Yale-Dartmouth football game.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity