Olympic dreams realized
Posted at: 07/17/2012 5:21 PM
| Updated at: 07/17/2012 6:18 PM
By: Robin De Wind | WHEC.com
A Naples native will be representing the United States on the U.S. Women’s Rowing Team at next week’s Olympic Games and her mother will be in London to watch her daughter compete.
Gail Musnicki leads a quiet life in the village of Naples, but that’s quickly changing. Musnicki is getting ready to make the trip to London to watch her daughter, Meghan, realize her dream.
Meghan is a member of the U.S. women’s eighth rowing team. She has won two world championships and is considered a heavy favorite to win gold in London. She has been in Princeton, New Jersey for the past four years training for this moment.
Gail Musnicki said, “I’m extremely proud of her for actually achieving this goal she set for herself. Initially I thought she was crazy, there’s no way she’s going to make it to the Olympics at least in my mind.”
Meghan didn’t take up rowing until her freshman year of college at St. Lawrence when she realized basketball wasn’t a good fit. The rowing coach had a place for her six-foot frame.
Gail Musnicki said, “He approached her and said have you ever considered rowing and she said, ‘Sure. I'll give it a try’ and she fell in love with it.”
At the same time, Meghan’s heart was broken. Her father, Bill, died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 49.
Gail Musnicki said, “She looked at him as a model for how to persevere through adversity.”
Meghan transferred to Ithaca College to be closer to her mom. She went on to win two NCAA Championships and decided to pursue rowing on a higher level.
Gail Musnicki said, “She was an achiever and a reacher before he died but that crystallized everything.”
Gail regrets that he husband never got to see Meghan’s success. But he’s there for every race. Meghan wears a necklace shaped like an oar, made from a bracelet given to her by her dad.
Gail is disappointed Meghan won’t be part of the opening ceremonies. The women’s team will be preparing for qualifiers next Sunday with the finals on August 2. Gail and her oldest daughter, Jamie, will be in London with Meghan the entire two weeks.