Jennifer Walinga

Royal Roads University instructor to be inducted to two halls of fame

Team Canada rower missed Olympic Games still sports gold medal

Tears fill Jennifer Walinga’s eyes as she holds her gift of a gold medal.

Moments earlier standing at the Esquimalt Lagoon, Walinga beamed with excitement recapping her life as a rower for Team Canada.

“For two years we were indomitable, it was a stronger-than-the-sum-of-parts type of thing. It was magical,” said the director of the School of Communications and Culture at Royal Roads University.  “As individuals we weren’t that strong, but together as a combination we were unstoppable.”

Walinga and teammates Kirsten Barnes, Brenda Taylor and Jessica Monroe-Gonin met in 1988 and formed the team in 1990.

Walinga held the stroke position in both the fours and eights coxless teams.

“I sat at the stern and set the pace and the rhythm for the team,” she explained.

In 1991 Walinga’s teams won both events at the World Rowing Championships in Vienna where they set a world record unbroken for the next 20 years.

“I can’t remember the time, but it was bloody fast,” she said with a laugh.

During the world championships Walinga pushed through back troubles to compete, causing permanent injury.

“I raced when I shouldn’t have, I didn’t understand how much damage I could do,” Walinga said.

Spare rower Kay Worthington replaced her at the Olympics and Walinga watched from the sidelines as her team dominated and won both events.

“I knew they were going to be fine, I was worried I would let them down,” Walinga said. “I did worry I would be jealous if they won, but I wasn’t.”

A month after the Games, the athletes were reunited for rower Andy Crosby’s wedding.

“Brenda (Taylor) came to me and said ‘I got something for you.’ I thought it was shampoo I left in the room or something like a shirt,” recalled Walinga. Instead, her teammate handed her one of the two gold medals she had been awarded.

Walinga declined but Taylor wouldn’t take no for an answer insisting Walinga had earned it too.

“At the Olympics for curling or basketball, everyone on the team gets a medal, but not for rowing. Only the people in the boat get one,” said Walinga, wiping tears from her eyes.

Walinga and her teammates, all of whom still live on the West Coast, will be inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame for the 1992 women’s Olympic gold medal coxless four rowing team at a ceremony in Toronto on June 7.

Walinga, who lives in Cadboro Bay, will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame in her hometown of Peterborough, Ontario, Oct. 16. She plans to attend both events.

 

 

Just Posted

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read