Lackawanna County Olympian recalls participating in games

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WAVERLY TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Olympic flame has been lit and the Tokyo games are officially underway. Despite fears over the pandemic here at home, an area resident who represented the U.S.A. in the 1984 and 1988 games is still proud to call herself an Olympian.

“I competed in 1984, which was in Los Angeles. And 1988 which was in Seoul, Korea,” recalled Abby Peck, who competed with the U.S.A. rowing team in 1984 and 1988.

Her path to the Olympics started in Boston, as she was invited to a rowing club practice.

“On my 25th birthday she said , ‘well why don’t you come down to practice?’ We meet at the boathouse at six o’clock. Are you going to talk about wanting to do this, or you going to do it. Which was a great gauntlet that she threw down and I picked up. And showed up at 6 o’clock the next morning, completely fell in love,” Peck said.

She vividly remembers the 1984 opening ceremony at the La Colloseum.

“Sort of a feeling like somebody’s going to find out I don’t really belong here. And their going to come in with a big hook, and they’re going to yank me off the stage. I looked around. I’d never seen that many people “live” in my life,” Peck told us.

She tells us she experienced a sort of “culture shock” in 1988.

“Korea was very different. For the first time in my life, experiencing what it was like to be a minority,” she said.

Abby tells Eyewitness News she agonizes over the discussions on whether to hold these ‘2020’ Olympics.

“I ache for these athletes. I ache for the organizers. I ache for the families that are supporting everybody.”

Abby’s advice to “would be” Olympians from our area… “You got to bring dedication and passion, because it is a love/hate thing. A really important part for me in this was ‘the journey’, was the endeavoring to make the team.

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