New Rowing Documentary: “Kiss the Joy”

New rowing documentary, “Kiss the Joy – The Story of Joan Lind Van Blom” by filmmaker Jean Strauss, will be released at the end of April.

4 April 2018

Joan Lind Van Blom passed away in August 2015, age 63. She was the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in the single sculls, at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Eight years later, she won a second silver medal – now in the quadruple sculls at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Lind was also qualified for the 1980 U.S. Olympic team but due to the U.S. Olympic Committee’s boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, she did not compete.

In 2014, Van Blom received the USRowing Ernestine Bayer Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to women’s rowing.

The other day, USRowing announced that Blom will be featured in a 59-minute documentary, Kiss the Joy – The Story of Joan Lind Van Blom, which will debut at the Newport Beach Film Festival on 28 April at 5:45 p.m. at the Lido Theater. A second screening will follow on 3 May at 7:45 at Edward Big Newport 6 & RPX.

Kiss the Joy is directed and produced by filmmaker Jean Strauss, a friend and fellow rower of Blom.

‘I would say that making this film has been such a privilege. Joan and I trained together in 1980; and like all of my contemporaries, she was the role model we all aspired to be like. When I asked her if I could do a film, she had to weigh that. She wasn’t sure how long she had, and she wanted to spend every minute with John,’ Jean Strauss told USRowing. ‘In the end, I spent 32 days with the two of them, underfoot, drinking coffee in the morning with cream that had been shared with their Lorikeet, Little Bird, and watching how the two of them found joy in each other and every day, despite what was going on. In fact, one didn’t really ‘see’ what was going on. They were just living. Racing. Laughing.’

While the film was still in the making, Strauss posted a slightly more than one-minute-long film about Van Blom on Vimeo, take a look here.

The article on USRowing’s website also reads:

Van Blom continued to stay competitive as a masters rower, holding 11 indoor rowing world records and winning gold in the senior women’s eight at the 50th Head of the Charles Regatta in 2014, less than a year before her death. In addition, she had a 35-year career as a physical education teacher and was instrumental in winning a million-dollar grant to put rowing machines in each of her school districts’ nine high schools.

All proceeds from Kiss the Joy will support the Joan Lind Van Blom Women’s Sculling Endowment. The endowment was set up to honor Joan’s memory and support women pursuing excellence in the sport she loved. Kiss the Joy – the story of Joan Lind Van Blom will be available for private screenings after May 3, 2018. Contact USRowing or the National Rowing Foundation (NRF) to schedule a screening.


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