Head of the Fort regatta drew close to 200 participants from 12 clubs to compete on Saturday, March 19 on Bedford Channel in Fort Langley. It was the first time the event had been held since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Head of the Fort regatta drew close to 200 participants from 12 clubs to compete on Saturday, March 19 on Bedford Channel in Fort Langley. It was the first time the event had been held since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley Olympic rowing champion is rebuilding the UFV Cascades team where she started

Lisa Roman took over as coach in November

Langley Olympic champion Lisa Roman was pleased with the “great turnout” for the first post-pandemic Head of the Fort rowing regatta.

“A good fundraiser, a great event, a great day,” is how Roman summed it up for the Langley Advance Times.

Hosted by the University of the Fraser Valley rowing team, the event drew close to 200 participants from 12 clubs to compete on Saturday, March 19 on Bedford Channel in Fort Langley, mostly youth and master’s teams.

For Roman, it represented another step in the process of rebuilding the UFV rowing team, her athletic alma mater.

“We had a two-year hiatus due to COVID,” Roman told the Langley Advance Times.

“I started the team up again in November. After COVID, it kind of fell apart.”

After winning Olympic gold, Langley rowing champion Lisa Roman has taken on a new challenge, rebuilding the UFV rowing club where she got her start. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

After winning Olympic gold, Langley rowing champion Lisa Roman has taken on a new challenge, rebuilding the UFV rowing club where she got her start. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Roman, who wants to increase community involvement in the sport, is planning to offer “learn to row” courses this summer.

She is hoping to attract sponsors to support the team. Any interested parties are asked to email ufvrowingclub@gmail.com.

Lisa Roman, with the UFV rowing team at Bedford Channel following the Head of the Fort regatta on Saturday, March 19. The team won their novice categories at the Head of the Fort regatta, the first held since the pandemic struck. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Lisa Roman, with the UFV rowing team at Bedford Channel following the Head of the Fort regatta on Saturday, March 19. The team won their novice categories at the Head of the Fort regatta, the first held since the pandemic struck. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

A D.W. Poppy Secondary graduate (2007) who grew up in Murrayville, Roman had 14 years of competitive figure skating before she ever set foot in a racing boat.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Head of the Fort Regatta marks 10th anniversary in Langley

Trained by UFV head coach Liz Chisholm, Roman was the Cascades’ top female rower within a year, and during her second season, she tried out for and made Team B.C. for the Canada Summer Games, winning three medals.

After transferring to Washington State University Roman racked up multiple wins, going on to second team All-America honours as a senior, and as a member of Canada’s women’s eight, won the gold medal and set a world age-class record at the U23 World Rowing Championships.

READ ALSO: Langley rowers among Canada women’s rowing gold medal Tokyo Olympic champions

She went on to be part of five medal-winning teams at the senior World Championships.

At the 2020 Tokyo Games – postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19 – Roman and fellow Langley rower Andrea Proske, along with with Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski, Christine Roper, Susanne Grainger, Madison Mailey, Sydney Payne, Avalon Wasteneys and coxswain Kristen Kit won the gold medal, 0.91 seconds ahead of New Zealand,with China coming in third.

Roman was inducted into the UFV Cascades hall of fame in February.


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