Home > Pressbox > News/Features
Girls Row: Empowering Young Women
July 14, 2012
On the cusp of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, rowing aficionados are eager for competition to begin.
Beyond the hype and country rivalry are stories of athletes’ lives greatly impacted by the sport of rowing.
“In high school [before I started rowing] I was a tall, gangly cross-country runner and basketball player,” said stroke seat of the U.S. women’s quadruple sculls Adrienne Martelli. “Although I thoroughly enjoyed and was decent at both sports, I lacked a certain aggression and confidence in both. Over the course of my rowing career, much of that has changed.”
Martelli is one of the several strong, confident and dedicated members of United States women’s Olympic team.
She is believer in the positive impact rowing can have on a young woman’s life.
The United States Rowing Association, the City of Newark Council President Donald Payne, Against All Odds Foundation and the Newark YMWCA join her in her praise of the sport’s influence.
This Sunday, through a combined effort, these organizations will launch Girls Row, an initiative to empower young women, in Newark, N.J.
Roughly 100 adolescents have been invited to participate in six modules focused on learning the sport and how to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, all lessons that could someday land them in Martelli’s seat.
For talented female athletes, rowing is also a possible pathway to obtaining a college degree.
According to the “NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report” from November 2010 as of 2009-2010 school year there were 143 NCAA Division I, II and III collegiate rowing teams with 6,999 female athletes.
Martelli was fortunate to benefit from an education both on the water and in the classroom at the University of Washington.
Since graduating as a Washington Husky, she has continued to tirelessly pursued her passion for the sport.
“My hard work, focus, and love of the sport got me the opportunity to train with the National Team,” said Martelli. “Training over the past two years has been the most challenging experience in my life thus far, but also the most rewarding. I feel strong mentally, physically and emotionally. I have confidence in who I am not only as an athlete, but also as a woman and individual in society.”
As Martelli wraps up her training for the biggest international competition, the Girls Row program hopes to create a new bunch of eager United States rowing fans in Newark on July 15, 2012.
Monica Worsley, USRowing Communications Intern