June 18, 2008
POZNAN, Poland - Ashley Brzozowicz, a 2004 Yale graduate, will compete in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Brzozowicz is a member of the Canadian women's eight that earned a berth today at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta.
"I think I am still in a bit of shock," Brzozowicz said. "There were so many months of stress and hard training for one big race. It was pretty intense."
The Canadian eight won its race with a time of 6:15.37. The Netherlands finished a very close second in 6:15.71 to also qualify. China, Belarus, New Zealand and Russia failed to earn a berth.
Brzozowicz has been a part of the Canadian eight that finished fourth at the Linz World Cup in 2007 and fifth at the World Rowing Championships in Eton, England, in 2006.
At Yale, Brzozowicz was in the No. 6 seat in Yale's varsity eight that finished second at the 2004 NCAA Championships.
"Ashley is one of the most determined athletes I've ever coached," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "Whenever she sets her mind to something, she will do whatever it takes to accomplish it. I always knew she was capable of earning a spot on the Canadian national team."
Brzozowicz is the first athlete to row under Porter's tutelage to earn a spot in the Olympics. Virginia Gilder `79, who won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics, Anne Warner `77, who captured a bronze in 1976, and Chris Ernst `76, who also was in the 1976 Olympics, are the other Yale rowers to compete in the Games. Mary O'Connor `79 was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that did not compete because of the boycott.
"It's a testament to our program that an athlete can come here and not only get a great education, but also compete at the very pinnacle of their sport - the Olympic Games," Porter said.
The rowing competition at the 2008 Olympics begins on August 9.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity