Rochester Olympic Rower Gia Doonan Named Hall of Famer
The University of Texas has decided to name Rochester Olympic rower Gia Doonan to its prestigious Hall of Honor.
Doonan, assistant coach for the University of Texas Longhorns crew team, was called "the most accomplished rower in University of Texas history" in a university press release.
Doonan was the first Longhorns rower to compete in the Olympic Games, earning a spot in the 2020 Tokyo crew, helping Team USA to a fourth-place finish in the eight-person crew. She was also a part of the American gold medal win at the 2016 Rowing Under-23 Championships. Doonan was also a part of the Texas Longhorns rowing team last year when the university captured its second consecutive national title.
Doonan's Reaction to the News
"I was really shocked because I thought I was too young to be considered," Doonan said. "I'd have to say I was shocked, but honored. My athletic director called me back in June and told me the good news. I've had to keep this a secret for three months."
Doonan admits she's really bad at accepting recognition.
"I get shy and awkward," she said. "It's funny getting these individual awards, I don't know what to say."
Doonan feels that she earned her spot in the Hall of Honor by doing the opposite, by being a great teammate and being a part of the unit. She downplayed individual accomplishments.
"In rowing, you want to be an interchangeable part. You don't want to stand out. Rowing should look calm and aggressive. Standing out is not typically a good thing in this sport."
Still, she has had a lot of time to think about the induction into the University of Texas Hall of Honor.
"Rowing is all about bringing your teammates up, and I think I did a good job with that. So, over time, I now have the ability to look inward and acknowledge that."
Most Cherished Moments
Between rowing in the Olympics, winning gold at the U-23 world championships, meeting the vice president and winning a national title, Doonan said it was impossible to pick a favorite moment.
"This sport has opened up so many doors for me and opportunities," she said.
Why Does the University of Texas Call it 'The Hall of Honor?'
Most schools and organizations have a Hall of Fame.
"It's an honor that dates back to the beginning of the university," Doonan said. "It was named before the term Hall of Fame became so popular."
When Will Doonan Be Inducted?
The induction ceremony will take place on Sept. 15 at the University of Texas campus.
Doonan's parents have already booked their flights.