October 7, 2012

Olympians Honored with Two Rowing Shells

DERBY, Conn. – Following the Head of the Housatonic Regatta on Saturday, the Yale heavyweight and women's crew teams dedicated two boats to their respective alumni that competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London this summer.

The heavyweight crew team dedicated its boat to Charlie Cole '07, who won a bronze medal as three-seat of the U.S. men's coxless four.  The boat is a coxed four made by Hudson, a Canadian manufacturer of rowing shells.

The Yale women dedicated their boat to all four of their Olympians from London 2012.  Ashley Brzozowicz '04, Tess Gerrand '10, Jamie Redman '08 and Taylor Ritzel '10 were all on hand to christen the shell that bears all of their names. 

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 women's team boat is a Vespoli eight, manufactured right in New Haven by Vespoli USA, Inc., a company founded by former Yale heavyweight coach Mike Vespoli.

After the dedication on the dock, a reception was held in the trophy room of Gilder Boathouse.  Ellen Jones Nordell '88, one of the vice presidents of the Yale Crew Association, introduced women's head coach Will Porter and heavyweight head coach Steve Gladstone, who in turn introduced the athletes.  Athletic Director Tom Beckett was also present to say a few words, highlighting that of the nearly 200 Yalies that have competed at the Olympics, more than 50 of them competed as rowers and won 20 gold medals. Ritzel's gold medal becomes the 21st.

The dedication of these two shells follows closely on the dedication of two heavyweight Filippi coxless fours in September.  That acquisition was made possible by a reunion gift from the Class of 2002.  One boat was named in honor of their freshman coach Justin Moore, the other in honor of Jamie Snider, their assistant varsity coach and now assistant coach for the Yale women.  The christening took place Sept. 8th on Old Campus.

Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity