Hall of Famer
Inducted in 2013
Represented the University of Toronto in rowing at the CIAU level
Fourth place, single sculls, World Rowing Championships in Copenhagen
Gold medal, women’s coxless fours, Olympic Games in Barcelona
Gold medal, women’s eights, Olympic Games in Barcelona
Became the very first University of Toronto graduate to win two Gold medals at one Olympic Games
Winning a gold medal at the Olympics is hard. The ability to remain calm and focus throughout one’s match or race can mean the difference. The 1992 Women’s Olympic Gold Medal Rowing Team - Coxless 4 comprised of Kirsten Barnes, Brenda Taylor, Jessica Monroe-Gonin, and Jennifer Walinga, did exactly that. A day before the competition, Walinga was forced to withdraw from the competition due to injury. The team remained focused, trusting that Kay Worthington would be able to continue the success and keep the chemistry of the crew. The substitution of Worthington into the crew was so seamless that it resulted in the crew winning Olympic gold in the Women’s Rowing Coxless 4 event.
The crew understood that the Olympic gold medal they won that day was not just won on the day of the race, but through the training and competitions leading up to it. Walinga was an essential part of that preparation and deserved an Olympic gold medal as well. As such, Taylor sacrificed one of her two Olympic gold medals that she had won at the Olympic Games and donated it to Walinga; recognizing the fact that the crew could not have won the gold medal without her. Their situation was less than ideal but they were determined to succeed. The united determination of the five women bonded them as they handled their challenges. In the end, their determination, focus, trust and sacrifice would define them as one of Canada’s best rowing crews ever.