California State University, Long Beach

Remembering Joan Lind Van Blom (1952-2015)

Saturday, 29. August 2015

joanpassing

Friday, August 28, 2015
UPDATED: August 29, 2015 1:40PM PDT

By: Brandin Grams (’10, B.S., business)
Director of Outreach, Beach Crew Alumni Association
CSU Long Beach 49er Foundation

Photo Credits: Hope Wilkinson, Karen Keehn (1973, B.A., psychology), Jean Strauss, Andi Parsons

 

LONG BEACH, CA —

Lind_2Long Beach State has lost a legend in the 49er Hall of Fame, only to be remembered by her endless prowess for success and as an ambassador to the sport of rowing. Forget just being a role model, to many, she was a hero. She was a fierce competitor, but also passionate of promoting Physical Education throughout her career.

Joan (Lind) Van Blom (1974, B.A., physical education; 1976, credential)  passed away in the morning hours on Friday, August 28, 2015, after a near two-year battle with complications of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Prior to this time, Joan’s story was that of a storybook, whose athletic achievement became a legend. But on August 21, 2013, at the Pete Archer Rowing Center, she collapsed after an indoor rowing session, depicting the fate of what’s to come.

Joan was the first woman to win an Olympic medal for the United States in rowing, taking silver in the single sculls at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, and another in the quadruple sculls at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Joan was also a member of the 1980 Olympic team, which boycotted the Moscow Games. She not only medaled as a rower, but also medaled internationally as a coach in the Pan American Games, and currently holds 11 world records on the indoor ergometer.

11951883_10153557286702298_4070469725516771882_nJoan had a 35-year career with the Long Beach Unified School District as a physical education teacher and was instrumental in winning a million-dollar grant to put rowing machines in each of her school district’s nine high schools. Joan retired in 2012.

Through the years, Joan was inducted into the 49er Hall of Fame and was declared a Lifetime Member of the Long Beach Rowing Association, marking her never-ending achievement in advocacy for the sport and healthy living. She was inducted into the National Rowing Hall of Fame in 1985. Joan is part of the Long Beach Century Club‘s best moments in the City of Long Beach, instated February, 2006.

For all of her accomplishments, dedication to rowing and contributions to the sport’s growth, Van Blom was named the recipient of the 2014 USRowing Ernestine Bayer Award, formerly Woman of the Year, which recognizes outstanding contributions to women’s rowing and/or to an outstanding woman in rowing.

The award is named in honor of the late Ernestine Bayer, a pioneer in women’s rowing, who is seen as the matriarch of the sport in the United States. Joan was honored on Saturday, December 6, at the 2014 USRowing Annual Awards Reception presented by Nathan Benderson Park in Jacksonville, FL


 

Joan is survived by her husband John Van Blom (1972, B.A., art) and their son, John Jr. John is a four-time Olympian and was also inducted into the 49er Hall of Fame. Both entries can be seen at the 49er Hall of Fame, located at the Walter Pyramid, Ukleja Room, on the CSULB campus.

 

Recent Activities

On February 21, 2014, the Beach Crew Alumni Association hosted John and Joan Van Blom for an interview at the 49er Hall of Fame, conducted by Dave Straley (’72). The interview can be seen on the Beach Crew Alumni Association’s YouTube page. It is also available for viewing by appointment at the University Archives, Room 300, third floor of the CSULB Library.

 

Racing Shell Dedication

After a successful annual membership drive Fall 2014, the Beach Crew Alumni Association announced the dedication of two racing shells introduced in the Spring 2015 racing season. A Women’s Resolute 8+ shell was dedicated as the Joan Lind Van Blom. The Men’s golden Vespoli 8+ shell was dedicated to a influential and respected alum, John D. Boyle. The dedication ceremony was Saturday March 7, 2015, after racing commenced at the Southern California Opening Day Regatta. CSULB President, Dr. Jane Close Conoley was in attendance and made a special presentation. The ceremony was broadcasted by The Rowing Channel (TRC) and can be viewed at their website.

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Biography

Jean Strauss, a former Long Beach-native, has been involved during this time with Joan’s biography, titled, “The Olympian,” scheduled to be released in Spring 2016, 40 years after her first Olympic race. She invites everyone to see a preview of what’s in the works:

Joan Lind – America’s Sculler from Jean A. S. Strauss on Vimeo. At the 2015 San Diego Crew Classic, Olympians and National Team Members talk about Joan Lind Van Blom and the impact she had on the early years of women’s international rowing – and the impact she continues to have to this day.

JOAN – on rowing from Jean A. S. Strauss on Vimeo. Joan Lind Van Blom is a two time Olympic silver medalist. The first woman to ever win a rowing medal for the US at the Olympics (Montreal, 1976), she represents a generation of women who, once given the opportunity to compete, raised the level of athleticism and grace in a sport that for over a millennia was the domain of men only. This short film contains footage from a documentary currently in production.

 

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Memorial

Plans for a memorial have not been determined. This article will be updated below of such plans. Our community subscribed to the B-Newsline will be notified of these events.

 

Photo Credits

Larger Photos: Hope Wilkinson
Earlier/B&W Photos: Karen Keehn (1973, B.A., psychology)
Where Credited: Andi Parsons

Pizza Rev

Wednesday, 15. April 2015

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Long Beach State Rowing Teams Row For Dough

Monday, 13. October 2014

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Photo by Stefano Balbusso

Varsity eight at Head of the American in Sacramento, Calif. last October

 

The Long Beach State Men’s and Women’s rowing teams (LBS Rowing) will undertake a twelve-hour “ergathon” in front of Legends Sports Bar, 5236 East Second St., on Saturday, October 18. The objective of the ergathon, which will run from 9a.m. to 9p.m., is to raise funds to assist the teams with the costs of traveling to Sacramento to compete in the season-opening Head of The American River at the end of October.

The ergathon is the LBS Rowing’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The men’s and women’s teams will take turns rowing on indoor-rowing machines, or ergometers. For every dollar donated, a rower will demonstrate his or her prowess by pulling ten powerful strokes. Every donor who provides $10 or more will receive a team tank top.

“This year we hope to beat last year’s $1,000 that was raised after rowing over 100,000 meters throughout the day,” Women’s head coach Ian Simpson said.

With over one hundred members, LBS Rowing is the largest club sport at LBSU. The team competes against NCAA Division 1 programs and other club teams at regattas in California including the San Diego Crew Classic. LBS Rowing is self-funded, relying on member dues, the Associated Students Incorporated, grants from the LBSU Foundation and other donors such as the Beach Crew Alumni Association.