Venonsky named to United States Olympic team


Former Cal Coxswain earns a spot in Team USA men’s eight

Julian Venonsky was strolling through the T. Gary Rogers boathouse on Thursday and stopped to look at a collection of photos of former Cal rowers who competed in the Olympics.

“There was a gap missing to make a perfect square,” said Venonsky.

It looks like boathouse decorators have found their latest addition to the photo gallery.

Venonsky, a 2016 Cal graduate, was named coxswain in the men’s eight for the Summer Olympics for the United States on Friday.

“My phone blew up with everyone I met,” Venonsky said shortly after US Rowing’s announcement. “It’s a little surreal. It’s still sinking.”

The United States Men’s National Team shares a facility with Cal’s men’s rowing program. Venonsky said he hadn’t entered Cal’s boathouse in some time and wanted to spend time looking around. It’s a training facility he used to call home, when he culminated in his college career leading the Bears to the 2016 IRA National Championship.

Venonsky believed his rowing career was over after he left Cal. He got a full-time job in New York City and worked there for about a year when he realized that the itch of staying in the sport was too hard to ignore. Venonsky secured a shot at being evaluated by US Rowing and, months later, led the US team’s men’s eight to silver at the 2017 World Championships.

“I’m delighted Julian was officially announced today at US Varsity Eight,” Cal’s head coach said. Scott frandsen mentionned. “He is a great ambassador for our team and I am really delighted to see him take the next step by participating in the Olympics.”

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