The winner of two Olympic gold medals in rowing, Caroline Lind ’02 detailed her journey from the Merrimack River in Andover to Dorney Lake in London at the third “Finis Origine Pendet” All-School Meeting (ASM) on Wednesday.
Lind emphasized how Andover’s “Non Sibi” spirit influenced her rowing career on the Princeton, the U.S. National and U.S. Olympic rowing teams.
“My experiences with rowing at Andover laid the groundwork for the athlete that I intended to be. Not only physically, but in the spirit of Andover’s motto ‘Non Sibi’ and through continuous and concerted effort and a ‘Non Sibi’ spirit, have I been able to become the team leader and athlete that I am today,” said Lind in her speech.
Lind competed in both the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2012 Games in London. “[In London] I made a commitment to myself, my teammates and my country to keep putting my blade right in and not giving up for one stroke,” she said.
When Lind first tried out for the U.S. National team in 2004, she did not make the cut. However, she recognized that, despite not being on the team, she had pushed other rowers to out-perform her and contributed to the team’s improvement.
“My goal has always been to win a gold medal at the Olympics, and if I cannot do that, then I will do my very best and help the team that does go win a medal,” said Lind.
When Lind came to Andover as a new Lower from Greensboro, N.C., she had never rowed. She first picked up an oar in the middle of Spring Term her Lower year.
Although her mother had advised Lind to pick up rowing at Andover, Lind started that term playing softball. Two weeks into the softball season, however, Lind missed a pop fly, and the ball hit her in the face. The injury prevented Lind for playing softball for the rest of the season, so she turned to crew.
“I am not sure if it was fate, God or just the hand of the divine, but whatever the reason, it presented me with an excellent opportunity… by the end of the season, I was in the first varsity boat,” she said.
Following Lind’s presentation, Palfrey related her words to the upcoming Andover/Exeter Weekend. He said, “You and your teams have worked so hard for the chance and the right to compete… You need to be great sports, and we will win some and we will lose some, but leave it on the field… There is nothing that you can control other than to not have regrets.”
Many students found Lind’s competitive story inspirational.
Gina Soutendijk ’15 said, “This is my first year in crew, but I think it was really inspirational hearing her talk about how far she progressed, and I know I’m not going to get that far, but her speech really motivated me to continue.”
“It was cool that she focused so much on ‘Non Sibi’ and how in rowing you can work not for yourself, but for your whole team,” said Qiqi Ren ’15, a member of Andover Girls Crew.
The “Finis Origine Pendet” program invites an Andover alumnus or alumna back to the school to speak at ASM. Speakers reflect on their beginnings at Andover and on their careers.
The series began last year with presentations from father-son duo George Smith Sr. ’55 and George Smith Jr. ’83 about their different Andover and life experiences. In the winter, Thomas Meserau ’69, a criminal defense lawyer, spoke about his time at the school and his experience working in criminal justice.
“Finis Origine Pendet,” one of Andover’s mottos, translates to “the end depends on the beginning.”