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VanBlom and Whitford Receive Honors


Former coach, Bob Whitford and our 49er Hall of Fame, Joan VanBlom, receive annual awards from USRowing.

September 22, 2014

USRowing takes great pride in the tradition of recognizing excellence in our sport though our annual awards. The association is pleased to announce the 2014 annual award winners who will be recognized this fall at either the Golden Oars Awards Dinner in New York City on November 20, or at the USRowing Annual Convention in Jacksonville, Fla. on December 5.

The Clayton W. Chapman Award is presented annually to an individual who best emulates Chapman’s 30-year stewardship of the Eastern Sprints and IRA Championship Regattas. The awardee is an individual who has consistently served in behind-the-scene administrative roles that have previously gone unrecognized. The recipient may be an athlete, coach, referee, administrator, volunteer, regatta organizer, sponsor, vendor or any other individual involved in the staging of a regatta. Bob Whitford is this year’s Clayton Chapman award winner.

Now the park manager for Nathan Benderson Park and World Class Rowing in Sarasota, Fla., Whitford, served as the Director of Rowing and Facilities Manager at the SAC Aquatic Center for the Associated Students of California State University, Sacramento for 23 years. He is a native of Newport Beach, Calif., attended Orange Coast College, University of California at Berkeley and graduated from the University of California at Irvine. He began rowing as a coxswain in the fifth grade and in high school he founded Newport School Boys Rowing.

The Ernestine Bayer Award, formerly Woman of the Year, recognizes outstanding contributions to women’s rowing and/or to an outstanding woman in rowing. Olympian Joan (Lind) Van Blom is this year’s recipient of the award.

Van Blom 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 and in the quadruple sculls at the 1984 Olympics. She has 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 ergometer.

She has been an ambassador for the sport, raising over a million dollars in grants to bring rowing to high school students and teachers. She currently teaches rowing classes on the ergometer to non-rowers at the Long Beach Boathouse and inspirationally continues to train and compete.

See official Press Release at USRowing