Another Gold Medal for Another Oakland Catholic Grad
It's Amanda Polk's first Olympic medal.
Amanda Polk (bottom row second from left) celebrates with teammates on the podium of the Women's Eight final rowing competition.
Oakland Catholic High School had two of its graduates in Rio, and both are returning with gold medals.
Amanda Polk helped to power the U.S. women's eight rowing team to gold Saturday night in Rio.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Polk told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I learned things about myself that I never would’ve learned if I hadn’t come back.”
photo provided by family of Amanda Polk
Polk had toyed with the idea of ending her rowing career after the U.S. team won a gold medal four years ago without her. She was an alternate at the London games. Instead of quitting, Polk doubled down on her training and won three more world championships with the team before coming to Rio. Her three siblings, Jessica, Natalie, and Jarrad, traveled from Pittsburgh to watch her win the gold.
“It just means a lot to us because we’ve seen her go through a lot of emotional struggles with not making London,” 20-year-old Jarrad Polk told th PG. “Even though she was a spare [at the 2012 Olympics] she didn’t feel like a champion. It was just a big relief for all of us that all that hard work finally paid off.”
Polk joins fellow Oakland Catholic grad Leah Smith who earned a gold and bronze medal in swimming in Rio.