Joanne Wright wanted to go the Olympics. An amateur athlete, she had taken up the sport of rowing those long skinny boats and found that she was good at it. She also quickly learned that there were no rowing events for women in the Olympics. Why? Because the governing body for rowing in the United States viewed it as a man’s sport and they would not sanction U.S. women to compete in international competitions. When the International Olympic Committee considered the addition of women’s rowing to the Olympic program the various countries were asked if they would send a women’s rowing team. The response from the US governing body for rowing had always been No because the men thought that women not only could not, but should not row.
Joanne set about changing their minds.
This is Joanne’s story of how three people, Joanne, Ted Nash and Ed Lickiss, communicating without the help of the Internet started new rowing programs, encouraged colleges to add women’s crew programs, provided a venue for those colleges with intramural women’s crews to start competing against one another, and proved to existing men’s clubs that they should welcome women to their ranks of competitors. The 1976 Olympics in Montreal held the first rowing events for women. The United States team came home with a Bronze and Silver medal.
From Left to Right:Joanne Iverson,Gus Constant,Ted Nash and Ed Lickiss. 1975 NWRA Nationals Princeton, New Jersey.
Copyright 2009 An Obsession With Rings. All rights reserved.