Naples rower Meghan Musnicki’s coach remembers her

NAPLES, N.Y. (WHEC) — Born and raised in the Village of Naples, Olympic gold medalist Meghan Musnicki was no stranger when it came to displaying her athleticism at a young age.

“I remember nearly everyday day after day her and he father jogging the streets throughout the village, and I’m absolutely certain that’s one of the primary drivers of her athletic ability today,” said Brian Schenk, mayor of the Village of Naples.

As Musnicki prepares to show the rest of the world her relentless strength, her hometown thousands of miles away is proud of how far she has come.

“She’s very well known in the community, and to have such a role model of that statue – an Olympic champion, three-time! It’s coming! Three-time Olympic champion as a role model in our community is something to be blessed with,” Mayor Schenk said.

Musnicki actually wanted to play college basketball, but she gave rowing a try and met Ithaca College head coach Becky Robinson.

“Rowing’s kind of unique that way where you can start in college. She transferred to Ithaca to get a little closer to home and that’s when she started rowing with us. We had a great stretch of years when she was on the team,” said Becky Robinson, who runs the women’s rowing and sculling teams.

Immediately upon meeting, Robinson also spotted her athletic talents right away.

“I knew Meg had the ability to row past college…at what level, not sure,” Robinson said.

Tonight, that athletic little girl once running the streets of Naples will now row for her chance at her third gold medal all the way in Tokyo.

“There are very few women in the United States who’ve gone on to be three-time rowing Olympians. That in itself is special,” Robinson said.

Meghan will race on behalf of the United States against Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Romania and China. You can catch it live on CNBC at 9:05 p.m., or stream it here.