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An Unforgettable Experience for Gold Medalist Jason Read

October 20, 2011

Over the course of thirteen seasons as a member of the United States men’s rowing team, Jason Read has experienced some very big moments, but none bigger than winning a gold medal in the eight and setting a world record at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Following that win, Read was photographed standing in the bow of the eight, a gold medal around his neck, holding an American Flag in the air.

This week, Read said he experienced something he never expected, when he was selected by the entire United States Pan American Games team to carry the flag again, this time while leading the U.S. contingent into the Opening Ceremonies of the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“It was incredible,” Read said. “Just extraordinary. I never dreamed I would be in a position to carry the flag in an opening ceremony and be selected by all the sports to have that honor. It was deeply moving and very exciting.

“To be the flag bearer, to lead the team into an electrified stadium, I mean the stadium was mobbed, and the whole place went nuts, just went crazy, when we entered. It was fantastic.”

Today, Read, of Ringeos, N.J., put the topping on a week of unique experiences by winning a gold medal in the eight. Now, Read, who was named Temple University’s head women’s rowing coach this fall, will return to the U.S. and focus on trying to make one more Olympic team.

Because of his work commitments and post-graduate degree work, Read did not move with the rest of the men’s team to the USRowing Training Center in Chula, Vista, Calif., in 2010 and he was not on the 2011 Senior World Championship Team that competed in Bled, Slovenia this summer.

Read said he’ll try for the 2012 team by training in Philadelphia and then competing in the Olympic selection regatta in the men’s pair.

“That is a boat I really love and one that has traditionally been an entry way to make the team,” he said. “And I have a lot of experience in that boat.”

He said, however, that he would do whatever he can to contribute to the Olympic effort next year.

“The exclusive goal for training for London is to win an Olympic medal. I will do what it takes to achieve that objective, in whatever boat.”

For complete coverage of the XVI Pan American Games, visit www.usrowing.org.

Ed Moran

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