Wendy O’Brien from the Class of 1988 is a decorated rower who says she’s learned a valuable lesson over her career – that the greatest race for any athlete isn’t physical; it’s mental. “I just need to be present, breathe, outlast and, most importantly, enjoy the experience,” she says. “Slow and steady,” she adds, “is actually a good thing.” Starting with her days at Ridley, she has been steadily achieving excellent results on the water. She won two gold medals at the CSSRA in the Women’s Eight, gold in the Women’s Double and bronze in the Women’s Four. She struck gold again rowing for the Ridley Grad Boat Club in the Intermediate Women’s Pair at the Canadian Henley. She lettered every year that she rowed at the University of Washington, and was named team captain of her Varsity Eight crew. Her list of accomplishments rowing for the Toronto Scullers, California Yacht Club and Long Beach Rowing Association is long and impressive. In fact, just last month, she won the Masters National Championship. Perhaps the secret to this champion’s success lies in her perspective; it’s not about her. She believes the supportive team around an athlete is what makes all the difference. Even when asked about her greatest sport memory, it’s someone else’s triumph that comes to mind: Watching the O'Donovan brothers fight their way to a silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics, earning Ireland the country’s first ever rowing medal.
“Having parents and mentors to help you pursue your dreams absolutely makes all the difference.”