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Williamson First Yale Rower To Medal In Olympics Since 1956

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 30: Phillip Wilson, Daniel Williamson and Michael Brake of Team New Zealand celebrate winning the gold medal during the Men's Eight Final A on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Sea Forest Waterway on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
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Phillip Wilson, Daniel Williamson and Michael Brake of Team New Zealand celebrate winning the gold medal in the men's eight final on day seven of the Tokyo Olympic Games, July 30, 2021.

Dan Williamson, a member of Yale Heavyweight Crew, won a gold medal with the New Zealand men’s eight rowing team Friday at the Tokyo Olympics.

It’s the first Olympic medal for a rower at Yale, which boasts the oldest collegiate boat club in America, in 65 years.

Stephen Gladstone, Williamson’s college coach, said the rower is an inspiration to other student-athletes.

“I mean, the guys that come in will actually be training with, living in proximity to, and chatting with somebody who’s the best in the world,” Gladstone said. “Keep in mind: He’s done all this in conjunction with being in a highly competitive academic setting, so that also sets an example that you can be a superior athlete and you can be a very strong student as well.”

Williamson returns to Yale in the fall as a junior.

Two other Bulldogs medaled in that race: Yale grads Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Charlie Elwes took the bronze as members of Great Britain’s team.

Gladstone said the recent Olympic success of his rowers is satisfying. He credited the collaboration among the highly motivated people in his program as a reason nine Yale rowers participated in the Tokyo Games.

“The people I’ve been coaching at Yale the past five or six years have certainly been people of that nature, so I feel extraordinarily fortunate to be working with them,” he said.

Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.

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