Lofgren grateful, excited

EDITOR'S NOTE: Esther Lofgren, an Olympic gold medalist, offers her thoughts and gratitude in an email about recently earning a spot on the U.S. women's quadruple sculls crew at the 2013 Senior World Championships in Chungju, South Korea, starting Aug. 26. Lofgren grew up training at Newport Aquatic Center and graduated from Newport Harbor High. She has a website, http://www.estherlofgren.com, and plans to provide blog updates this month. Lofgren is also helping raise money for a friend, Byron Plapp, who was diagnosed with cancer last year. His story can be found at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/byronplapp. Lofgren has also set up a support website for Plapp, called, "Team Byron," at http://pages.teamintraining.org/nca/corps13/elofgrekb9. Her email was received Aug. 2 and addressed to family and friends.

One year ago, after an amazing, tumultuous, seven-year journey, I crossed the finish line in London with eight amazing teammates and won a truly incredible Olympic gold medal.

Your support, love and faith helped me through some very tough times on the way there — injuries, not making the boat I was trying to make, finances, and everything else. You helped me believe that my dream could become a reality, and I am so very blessed to have your support as I've continued on my journey.

The crews for the 2013 World Championships were announced July 31 as well, and I am excited to share the news that I will be racing as part of the women's quadruple sculls crew at the World Championships in Chungju, South Korea, at the end of August!

Selection was extremely difficult, with five London Olympic medalists and a multi-Worlds medalist competing for four seats. I have an even deeper respect for my sculling teammates who went through this in previous years, and our Worlds crew has been made harder, better, faster, and stronger because of our teammates staying home this year.

We leave Wednesday, Aug. 14, and begin racing on Monday, Aug. 26. I'll send out blog post updates and more information on how to watch as racing gets closer!

Team Byron update

Byron has finished his last round of chemo!!! He's still building back from the last round, and could absolutely use your messages of support on his CaringBridge page and my Team Byron page.

For those of you who have already generously contributed, the U.S. team's rockstar sponsor, Boathouse Sports, is finishing up the Team Byron wristbands — they look AWESOME!!! — and I will be mailing them out at the end of next week!

So if you haven't yet, please donate today. We are just a few hundred dollars from reaching the $5,000 goal. Did I mention that you guys are FANTASTIC?? Thank you for supporting Byron. He is an amazing person, serviceman, husband, son, brother, and cousin, and you are awesome for sending him your support!!!

Thank you for your ongoing support, and for joining me on this new year of adventures!

Go USA!!!

— Esther Lofgren

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