While it's more than 5,500 miles from Portland to Beijing, one local is
aiming to get there one stroke at a time: Lisa Schlenker, 42, is a world-class
rower training for the 2008 Olympic Games in the lightweight women's double
Most mornings, Schlenker, a resident of Lake Oswego and a 2004 Olympian, rows in her single shell on the Willamette River before most Portlanders have even gotten a cup of coffee. If she's not rowing in her own shell, she can be found in a motorized coaching boat, instructing local rowers and earning money to finance her Olympic dream.
Schlenker got a late start in her Olympic questshe didn't take up rowing until age 26but that didn't stop her from eventually capturing silver medals at three World Rowing Championships, establishing a world record (that still stands) in indoor rowing for her weight class, and earning a spot on the 2004 Olympic team to compete in Athens.
On October 4, Schlenker and three-time Olympic runner Lynn Jennings will share their Olympic experiences and discuss training, motivation, and the pursuit of athletic excellence at a fundraiser for Schlenker's Olympic pursuit and Portland Women's Rowing, a competitive Master's rowing team in Portland, Oregon.
The event, entitled To the Olympics and Beyond: An Evening with Portland Olympians Lynn Jennings and Lisa Schlenker, will be held at Portland State University Smith Ballroom at 6:30 p.m. with a 5:30 p.m. meet-and-greet reception with the athletes.
Lynn Jennings, a newcomer to rowing, participated in the 1988, 1992, and 1996 Olympic Games in Track and Field and was a three-time World Cross Country Champion. She won a bronze medal in the 10k in the 1992 Olympic Games, the only Olympic distance medal on the track won by a US woman. A former Nike-sponsored athlete, and an inductee into the US Track and Field Hall of Fame and the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, Jennings retired to Portland in 2001. She continues to run for fitness, and began learning to row in 2005.
Attendees at To the Olympics and Beyond: An Evening with Portland Olympians Lynn Jennings and Lisa Schlenker will have the opportunity to bid on an impressive collection of athletic apparel, gear, and services from Adidas, Asics, Lululemon, Acme Made, Keen, REI, Cloudveil, Polartec, Fit Right Northwest, Pacesetters, Unwind Massage, and more. (A list of items to be auctioned will be posted at www.portlandwomensrowing.org by September 20.)
A limited-admission reception with Jennings and Schlenker begins at 5:30 p.m. for reception ticket holders. Tickets prices are: $20 general admission; $10 student admission; $40 pre-event reception with the athletes at 5:30 p.m. (includes general admission). Tickets are available at www.portlandwomensrowing.org or at the door.