In recognition of her lifetime accomplishments and commitment to community service, Senator Janet Nguyen, who represents a portion of Long Beach, introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 102 to rename a bridge in honor of longtime Long Beach resident and Olympic medalist Joan Lind Van Blom. Specifically, SCR 102 would name the bridge on State Highway Route 1, south of Loynes Drive and north of East 2nd Street as the Joan Lind Van Blom Memorial Bridge.
Among her list of achievements, Joan Lind Van Blom was the first woman to win an Olympic medal for the United States in rowing. She also won a silver medal in the single sculls at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal and in the quadruple sculls at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Joan was also a member of the famed 1980 Olympic Games held in Moscow, which were boycotted by the United States.
For her numerous achievements, Van Blom was inducted into the Wilson High School Hall of Fame, Long Beach State 49er Hall of Fame Century Club, National Rowing Hall of Fame and was declared a Lifetime Member of the Long Beach Rowing Association. She was also named the recipient of the 2014 US Rowing Ernestine Bayer Award which recognizes outstanding contributions to women’s rowing.
Beyond her pursuits in the world of rowing, Joan Lind Van Blom motivated students to live healthy and active lives during her 35-year career with the Long Beach Unified School District as a physical education teacher and curriculum leader.
“Whether it was on-the-water or in the classroom, Joan was a remarkable individual who served her nation and the city of Long Beach proudly,” stated Senator Janet Nguyen.
On August 21, 2013, Van Blom collapsed after an indoor rowing session and was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. She would continue to advocate for rowing and healthy lifestyles until her passing the morning of August 28th, 2015.
“Tragically Joan’s life was cut short, but her contributions will continue to be remembered by her beloved community. I am honored to introduce legislation that recognizes Joan’s life of accomplishments and preserves her legacy for future generations.”
SCR 102 is co-authored by Senator’s Ricardo Lara and Isadore Hall and Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell who also represent the City of Long Beach with Senator Nguyen.