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Ginny Gilder is the 2015 Recipient of the Jack Kelly Award

by Ed Moran, ed@usrowing.org | Sep 23, 2015
Ginny Gilder was already having a good year. She finished and published her memoir “Course Correction. A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX” and was getting favorable reviews. But her year got even better when she was notified that she had been awarded the 2015 USRowing Jack Kelly Award.
GilderGinny Gilder was already having a good year.

She finished and published her memoir “Course Correction. A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX” and was getting favorable reviews. But her year got even better when she was notified that she had been awarded the 2015 USRowing Jack Kelly Award.

The award, given each year, recognizes an “individual who represents the ideals that legendary Philadelphia sculler Jack Kelly lived by; has accomplished superior achievements in rowing or serves as an inspiration to American rowers.”

Gilder will presented with the award at the 2015 Golden Oars Awards Dinner at the New York Athletic Club in New York City on Nov. 19.

“Honestly, I was completely shocked,” Gilder said of the award. “Throw in, total disbelief, for good measure. I’ve had a terrific year. I’m old enough to know now to appreciate the fun times, as there are more than enough challenges to balance the scales.

“It’s not every day in my fifties that I get to do something I’ve never done. And having my memoir published is obviously a first.”

Gilder - BlackWhite (1)Gilder’s book traces her path through collegiate rowing, her stand with her Yale teammates for equal facilities for women on campus by stripping naked in the university athletic director’s office, to the 1984 Olympic Games, where she won a silver medal stroking the women’s quadruple sculls.

But the story is so much more the telling of a life’s journey. She begins with discovering rowing to being an athlete driven to succeed while filled with self doubt and using the foundations of rowing - teamwork and determination - to overcome those obstacles and put a haunting family past behind her, while using sport to help build a foundation for her future.

Her story moves through her rowing career, marriage, loss of a stillborn child, divorce and a second marriage. A successful businesswoman and part owner of the WNBA Seattle Storm, Gilder is enjoying the response to her story.

“I’ve really enjoyed sharing my story with other people,” she said. “And hopefully, giving them some new ideas about how to think about themselves and approach pursuing their own aspirations.

“As for how receiving this acknowledgement measures up to all I’ve been doing, that’s a bit tricky. Of course it’s a huge honor, and quite humbling, really, to be considered an ‘outstanding individual.’

“At the same time, I try to remain level-headed with regard to my own accomplishments,” she said. “I tend to focus on what’s ahead, unaddressed or unfinished, to reach for the stars above, not to dwell on the glitter of the past.”
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