Meghan Musnicki '05 Wins Olympic Gold with U.S. Women's Eight
LONDON — Meghan Musnicki, a 2005 Ithaca College graduate and member of the United States Olympic rowing team, won a gold medal Thursday morning with the women's eight. The U.S. won its second straight gold medal, leading the race from the start and beating Canada by a half length.
Musnicki, who rowed in gold-medal winning boats at the World Rowing Championships, is in her first year with the U.S. Olympic team. She earned her spot following the last month's trials at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J.
The women's eight posted a winning time of 6:10.59, defeating Canada and the Netherlands, who took the bronze. The U.S. team has not lost a competitive eight race internationally since winning the 2006 world title in London.
The U.S. crew, which also included Caryn Davies, Caroline Lind, Eleanor Logan, Taylor Ritzel, Esther Lofgren, Susan Francia, Erin Cafaro and coxswain Mary Whipple, won the country's third women's eight gold medal (the Americans won in 1984 in Los Angeles and in 2008 in Beijing)
The Olympic victory is the latest accomplishment in Musnicki's decorated national and international rowing career. Prior to being selected for the U.S. team, she helped the United States win gold medals in the women's eight at the last two World Rowing Championships. Her boat set a world record of 5:54.17 in the 2012 heat. Musnicki has twice won the pairs competition at National Selection Regattas.
As a Bomber, Musnicki rowed for three years in the varsity 8 boat (she transferred to Ithaca after rowing at St. Lawrence as a freshman). She helped the Bombers win NCAA championships in 2004 and 2005. She and the varsity eight capped an undefeated season in 2004 by winning the grand final at the NCAA Championships; as a senior she served as commodore as Ithaca became the first school to repeat as NCAA Division III women's rowing champions.
Musnicki graduated with a degree in psychology.
Following her graduation, Musnicki moved to Massachusetts, where she resumed her training while also preparing for nursing school. She was invited to a selection camp for the U.S. National Team four that would compete at the World Championships; after not being selected, she moved to Boston to train on a full-time basis.
She continued to participate in selection camps and earned her first spot with the national team in 2010. An injury to her partner in the pair competition at the 2010 World Cup postponed her first international racing opportunity, but later that year she won the first of two consecutive titles with the U.S. eight boat at the World Championships.
Musnicki and her family have been an important part of Ithaca's rowing program; in 2005, the Bombers dedicated the Bill Musnicki III '75, a racing shell named in honor of her late father.
Originally published in IC News: Meghan Musnicki '05 Wins Olympic Gold with U.S. Women's Eight.