Wendy Lansbach Boglioli’s dedication was evident from an early age. Without access to sophisticated facilities or world-class coaches, Wendy made due with a 17 yard long indoor hotel pool in the winter and a cold Wisconsin lake in summer. Wendy put in countless hours and countless miles in pursuit of her dreams. Coached only by her parents until the age of 18, she and her family traveled across the state to attend as many swim meets as possible to hone her competitive edge.
Wendy’s swimming accomplishments garnered her fame in her home state and beyond. By 1969, Wendy was travelling and swimming internationally and even at 14 years old pointing toward her Olympic destiny. Title IX allowed Wendy to become one of the earliest female recipients of a collegiate athletic scholarship at Monmouth College in New Jersey where her training thrived. By 1976 at the ripe old age of 21, some doubted her ability to qualify for the 1976 Olympic Team. With the support of Coach Bill Palmer of the Central Jersey Aquatic Club, Wendy qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team and was mere strokes away from her lifelong dream.
Montreal 1976: The Games of the XXI Olympiad
Alongside fellow competitors like gymnastics great Nadia Comaneci and swimming giant John Naber, Wendy arrived in Montréal ready to take on the world. Wendy, the ‘old lady’ of the U.S. Women’s Swim Team, qualified in two events: the 100 meter Butterfly and the 4 X 100 Freestyle Relay. With rumors of East German doping swirling around the competition, Wendy and her teammates faced an almost insurmountable task. Wendy won an important Bronze Medal in the Butterfly, finishing behind only two East Germans (Kornelia Ender and Andrea Pollack). The East German women marched through the competition, sweeping every individual gold medal awarded save one, while setting numerous world records in an unprecedented display.
But the East Germans hadn’t reckoned with Wendy and her teammates, Kim Peyton, Jill Sterkel and Shirley Babashoff. Swimming the best races of their lives, Wendy and her three compatriots won the only American Women’s Gold Medal in the culminating event, the 4 X 100 Freestyle Relay in World Record time. To this day, this spectacular and unlikely victory is referred to as one of the greatest upsets in Olympic swimming history (Swimming World Magazine, April 2005). And, in the course of three minutes and forty-five seconds, Wendy’s Olympic dream had more than come true.
The Passion Remains
Wendy’s love for swimming and her dedication to a healthy and fit lifestyle didn’t end with the Olympics. Although unable to return to the Olympics as a result of the 1980 boycott, Wendy went on to become the first female swimming coach at Yale University. Wendy continues to be an active swimmer and cyclist and has created a video to spread the word about swimming for fitness. Wendy’s coaching experience led her naturally to her current role as a speaker, helping each of us to understand how to LIVE Financially Sound, Physically Strong.