Malvern Prep Alum Julian Venonsky ’12 Rows in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Class of 2012 alumnus Julian Venonsky coaxined for the men’s eight-man boat during this year’s Olympics.

Aidan Naughton, Sports Editor

Julian Venonsky and the eight man boat representing the U.S came in just shy of bronze, but the experience was lasting. 

The U.S team finished in fourth place with a time of 5:26.75, just 1.02 seconds behind Great Britain in third.

Venonsky spoke about the experience as a whole.

“It flew by. It was like watching a movie of my own life, like an out-of-body experience, just doing anything. Being in the village and walking in to get breakfast or meeting people from all over the world was definitely surreal. I tried very hard to kind of just stay in the moment… I’m still processing it to this day,” he said.

Venonsky attributed part of his Olympic participation to Malvern’s own rowing program. Adding that in addition to getting him into The University of California, Berkeley, the program and school also helped open doors for him which, in turn, helped him compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. 

“There’s absolutely no way I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for Malvern in that program…and then wanting to go to university at the highest level, either the University of Washington or Cal Berkeley which I eventually ended up at, the program opened up doors to just meet people that knew people that got me in touch with coaches that then gave me a shot. So if I didn’t go to Malvern, there’s absolutely no way that I would have ended up at the Olympic Games,” Venonsky said.

Naming work ethic and dedication as two important attributes of an athlete, Venonsky spoke on how Malvern taught him to strive for excellence whether on the water or in the classroom.

“I think a mixture of having just a truly amazing work ethic and dedication to something that you’re interested in, but also just bringing that humility with it. I mean being on the rowing program at Malvern, and just kind of the culture of my time at Malvern, everyone was super driven, super bright, super smart, and it really instilled this drive to keep improving every day,” he said. 

Venonsky also talked about lessons he learned from rowing and throughout his career, saying that a person’s internal motivation is necessary to achieving their dream. 

“I think kind of what I’ve learned along the way is I’m my biggest cheerleader and my biggest support. No matter what obstacles you run into, and you will in life, I mean, that’s just life, but understanding that, if you have this goal or this dream in mind, no matter who or what can get in your way, just have that [motivation],” Venonsky said.

Sharing an experience of his junior year at Malvern, Venonsky recalled an instance that changed his outlook on his experience as a rower and teammate. 

“I remember, very vividly, It was my junior year, I think we were doing a thirty minute test. It was right before I left for MECO actually, I was already committed to Cal as a Coxon so I knew I wasn’t going to be rowing anymore. So I really have it in the back of my mind I was like, ‘Why? Why am I doing the thirty minute tests like this is stupid, I’m not rowing in college’. Halfway through, even though I’m not rowing in college, I was still on that team and we still had a season to do and especially as you progress in the sport and on to universities or national teams, it becomes less about yourself and more about the guys around you,” he said.

For now, Venonsky has some time off, but will soon resume training for the U.S National Team.