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Olympic Moments: Wendy Weil

Where does life take you after you’ve experienced Olympic glory? These past Olympians look back—and ahead.

Photograph by Christopher Leaman.
Despite injuries, Weil swam in college after the Olympics. Photograph from 1978 courtesy of Wendy Weil.

Wendy Weil
Olympian in 1976
Bronze medal, 800-meter freestyle

When she was nine years old, Wendy Weinberg Weil joined an up-and-coming aquatic club. But she and her older brother were kicked off the team two years later. “They said we didn’t have enough talent,” she recalls.

The siblings joined a small group run by Frank Comfort at Johns Hopkins University, and at age 14 Weil began training full-time with the collegiate men’s team.

By the time she was 18, her hard work had earned her a ’76 Olympic bronze medal in the 800-meter freestyle and a swimming scholarship to the University of Virginia. A series of injuries—including a broken leg sustained while walking—ended her international swimming career in 1980 but led her down a new path.

She transferred to the University of North Carolina to study sports medicine. Now Weil runs a physical-therapy practice in McLean. She’s spent almost 30 years treating patients, many of whom are athletes with overuse injuries. She aims not only to fix them up but also to teach them exercises and share advice with the goal of preventing injury recurrence.

Weil hopes sports will help shape the adult lives of the serious athletes she treats, as it did hers: “Athletes who train four and five hours a day get to be very efficient. That’s hard to learn otherwise.”

Read more Olympic Moments.

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