Screenshot of Long Beach bridge to be renamed taken from Google Earth.
UPDATE | As millions around the world gear up to watch the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games tonight, Senator Janet Nguyen announced today that the California State Legislature has approved Senate Concurrent Resolution 102 (SCR 102), authorizing the renaming of a Long Beach bridge after Joan Lind Van Blom, the first woman to win an Olympic medal in rowing for the United States.
Nguyen, the City of Long Beach, Caltrans and the Long Beach Century Club are making plans to host a public ceremony to officially dedicate the bridge in honor of the longtime Long Beach resident, stated the release.
“From the Olympic stage to the classroom, Joan Lind Van Blom was a woman who displayed great courage and a commitment to uplift her country and community,” said Nguyen in a statement. “The renaming of this bridge is a small token of appreciation for her decades of contributions as an Olympian and educator. I am proud that the California State Legislature has chosen to honor her legacy.”
Joan Lind Van Blom was inducted into the Long Beach Century Club’s Hall of Fame in 1996. The nonprofit was founded in 1957 by local sports enthusiasts to promote amateur athletics in the city. Senator Nguyen introduced the idea to rename the bridge at the organization’s request, according to the release.
“The Long Beach community greatly appreciates Senator Nguyen’s efforts in renaming the bridge after a Long Beach Olympic icon,” stated Gary Delong, former Long Beach Councilmember and Long Beach Century Club member.
The bridge is located on State Highway Route 1, south of Loynes Drive and north of East Second Street. Thanks to the Long Beach Century Club and City of Long Beach Councilmembers Suzie Price, Daryl Supernaw and Dee Andrews, plans are also underway to display permanent signage heralding the bridge’s new name.
“Joan Lind Van Blom is one of the most remarkable athletes to ever live and was even more impressive for her dedication to her Long Beach community,” said Price in a statement. “Having a bridge in east Long Beach named after her will serve as a daily reminder of the positive legacy she has left behind.”
Photos of Joan Lind Van Blom courtesy of Long Beach State rowing.
Previously: State Senator Janet Nguyen’s New Resolution Aims to Rename Long Beach Bridge After Famed Olympian
1/27/16 at 4:04PM | As the first woman to win an Olympic medal in rowing for the United States, Joan Lind Van Blom was, for many, a symbol of Long Beach. Her first silver in single sculls in 1976 and second silver, in quadruple skulls in 1984, were historic moments in U.S. rowing, let alone the stuff of Long Beach legend.
She was a revered icon of the city, living on beyond her death last August, at the age of 62.
State Senator Janet Nguyen, who represents parts of Long Beach, would like to honor her lifetime achievements. This week, Nguyen introduced legislation that proposes renaming a bridge on the Pacific Coast Highway (State Highway Route 1) after longtime Long Beach resident and Olympic medalist Joan Lind Van Blom.
In legislation co-authored by Senators Ricardo Lara, Isadore Hall and Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, the bridge that sits just south of Loynes Drive and north of East Second Street would be renamed the Joan Lind Van Blom Memorial Bridge.
“Tragically Joan’s life was cut short, but her contributions will continue to be remembered by her beloved community,” said Nguyen in a statement. “ I am honored to introduce legislation that recognizes Joan’s life of accomplishments and preserves her legacy for future generations.”
Van Blom, a hall of fame member for National Rowing, Wilson High School, Long Beach State 49er Century Club and a Lifetime Member of the Long Beach Rowing Association, died on August 28, 2015 of brain cancer. She had collapsed during a rowing session on August 21, 2013 and was diagnosed shortly after.
Her memory lives on, in the form of this week’s legislation, and after a 35-year career teaching physical education and working as a curriculum leader in the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD). Her 2014 awarding of the USRowing Ernestine Bayer Award also serves to memorialize her contributions to U.S. Rowing.
“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,” Nguyen said in a statement.