Amanda Elmore - Purdue Biology Graduate Continues Olympic Quest
This article originally appeared in the Lafayette's Journal and Courier.
(Amanda is on the left holding the stars of the flag.)
Amanda Elmore is one step closer to her Olympic dream.
Earlier this month, the graduate of Harrison High School and Purdue University helped the U.S. Senior National rowing team make history.
Elmore teamed with Olivia Coffey, Megan Kalmoe and Tracy Eisser to win the gold medal at the Olympic-qualifying World Rowing Championships in Lac Aiguebelette, France.
"The night after, I couldn't sleep at all. I was so excited," Elmore said. "It really was the best feeling ever being on the medals dock. Some of the girls on our team snuck into the grandstands and they were screaming.
"The best part of it was having our whole team there to celebrate with."
Elmore's team was the first U.S. women's quad to win a world championship.
But it almost didn't happen.
The U.S. lost its heat race, and an automatic spot in the finals, to Australia. The team then placed second, grabbing the last advancing spot from rep, a race for non-qualifiers to fill the last two spots in the final.
From there, hope lied in finishing top five in the final to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
"We knew we were really strong and we had a shot, but more of the focus was just on getting top five and getting on the medal stand," Elmore said.
The United States overtook world power Germany, with Elmore sitting in the bow seat and having the best view of the first-place finish.
Although the victory qualifies the United States women's quad for the Olympic games, it doesn't necessarily mean Elmore's spot is solidified.
There's an ongoing selection process to choose the four members while they train at Princeton, New Jersey.
Elmore came from a track, cross country and gymnastics background at Harrison, admittedly not the best athlete on those teams.
She followed her brothers' lead into rowing and joined the club team at Purdue. Eventually, she became an All-American at Michigan in her one season with the Wolverines while she attended graduate school.
She continues to be a part-time student at the University of Michigan, completing research for a thesis lab for her Ph.D. program and embracing technology to attend, and sometimes lead, lab meetings via Skype while she lives with a host family in New Jersey.
Rowing already has taken her further than she ever expected.
Indeed, Elmore would love to be on the Olympic team. She still has to pinch herself to believe she's even this close.
"I don't want to think too far ahead because that is a year away and I have so much improving to do," Elmore said. "This definitely really boosted my confidence and the whole team's confidence. Everyone is in a really good position going into the next year. It's going to be more competitive, but that makes it more fun."