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Lifetime Achievements in Rowing Honored at 2015 Golden Oars

by Allison Müller, allison@usrowing.org | Nov 20, 2015
Nearly 350 guests filled the ballroom at the New York Athletic Club on Thursday for the 5th Annual Golden Oars Awards Dinner, hosted by USRowing and the National Rowing Foundation. Members of the rowing community, friends and family joined this year’s award winners for an evening reception, dinner and live auction.
IMG_9248NEW YORK CITY — Nearly 350 guests filled the ballroom at the New York Athletic Club on Thursday for the 5th Annual Golden Oars Awards Dinner, hosted by USRowing and the National Rowing Foundation. Members of the rowing community, friends and family joined this year’s award winners for an evening reception, dinner and live auction.

“Our Golden Oars celebration this year reflected back on an outstanding year in our sport,” said Beth Kohl, Golden Oars Dinner Chair and USRowing Chief Marketing Officer. “We're proud of building this new tradition, making it a special night for so many who represent a wide range of rowing backgrounds and organizations. The stories from our 14 award winners this year were particularly meaningful and resonated strongly with our guests.

“Thank you to our wonderful sponsors and auction donors, as well as the dedicated Golden Oars dinner committee. We are grateful to so many for supporting the sport we all know and love and are already looking forward to Golden Oars 2016.”

IMG_8780The annual awards dinner and auction serves as an opportunity to recognize excellence in rowing, as well as raise funds for the National Rowing Foundation's support of the U.S. national teams and America Rows, a program dedicated to changing the lives of urban youth and those with disabilities by providing rowing as an opportunity for all.

Honorary Co-Chairs Erin O’Connell, President of the USRowing Board of Directors, and Jamie Koven, Co-Chair of the NRF Board of Directors, welcomed guests and led a national team salute, recognizing the dozens of past national team athletes in attendance, followed by a powerful video, showcasing the success of the 2015 U.S. National Team.

“I feel extraordinarily blessed to have found an endeavor that has captured my heart, soul and mind,” said rowing icon and Yale University head coach Steve Gladstone, who was presented with the USRowing Medal, one of seven USRowing Awards of Excellence. “We’re all in this together—the women, the men—this is what we do. It’s what we love. Rowing has captured our lives and informed our values. It’s a wonderful thing.”

IMG_9523In addition to Gladstone, Ellen Minzner, coach of the silver medal U.S. National Team’s legs, trunk and arms four with coxswain and Director of Outreach for Community Rowing, Inc., was presented the Isabel Bohn Award; Reach High Baltimore founder Judd Anderson accepted the Anita DeFrantz Award; Seattle Storm co-owner and two-time Olympian Ginny Gilder accepted the Jack Kelly Award; and USRowing and FISA referee Peter Zandbergen received the Jack Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award.

Two USRowing Training Center athletes were voted by their peers on the 2015 U.S. National Team as the USRowing Athletes of the Year. The Male Athlete of the Year award was presented to Seth Weil, a member of the U.S. men’s four that qualified the boat for the 2016 Olympic Games. The USRowing Female Athlete of the Year was presented for the second time in a row to Megan Kalmoe, who made history winning gold in the women’s quad this summer.

“This is a tremendous honor. I never imagined being here and receiving this award,” said Weil in his acceptance speech Thursday evening. “I’ve never had the opportunity to stop and reflect on my experience. There’s just no other sport in the world that could have afforded me the opportunities that I’ve had. To say that I’m grateful is a colossal understatement.”

IMG_8577The 2015 Fan’s Choice Awards honoring excellence in the junior, collegiate, masters and national team categories were presented to Junior Athlete of the Year, Clark Dean; Collegiate Athlete of the Year, Nate Goodman; Masters Athlete of the Year, Greg Gillinger; National Team Athlete of the Year, Lauren Schmetterling; Junior Coach of the Year, Brian de Regt; Collegiate Coach of the Year, Chuck Crawford; and Masters Coach of the Year, Mark Borchelt.

“What an amazing night,” said Grace Luczak, 2015 gold medalist in the women’s four. “I love seeing every facet of the rowing community come together. It's a pretty amazing and passionate group.”

Check out a photo gallery from the 2015 Golden Oars here.

Watch behind-the-scenes video interviews with all 14 award winners here.

About USRowing
USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing has 75,000 individual members and 1,200 member organizations, offering rowing programs for all. USRowing receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners.
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