I am making a film that has nothing to do with adoption for the first time in almost ten years. The subject is one of the women I’ve admired most in my life. Joan Lind Van Blom is an extraordinary athlete, the very first woman ever to earn an Olympic medal for the United States in rowing. She did this in a spectacular race in the 1976 Games, the first Olympics to include women’s rowing. Her silver medal was nearly a gold – and this against East Germans and Russians, in the worst lane on the Montreal course, in a cross wind, up against the rocks. For the last four decades, she has been an amazing ambassador for the sport, for both men and women. Setting the bar for all who would follow, Joan’s story underscores how far women can excel when given a chance to compete.
As I begin this endeavor, I am reminded of the privilege that filmmaking affords. I am getting to tell the story of an idol of my youth, to immerse myself in a sport that long ago defined me – at least to myself. My camera lens is trained upon a magic athlete, who continues to inspire all in the rowing community to this day. What joy!