Olympic Moments: Jair Lynch

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

By: Mary Yarrison

Lynch says winning silver in Atlanta was “humbling.” Photograph by Eric Feferberg/AFP.

Jair Lynch
Gymnastics
Olympian in 1992 and 1996
Silver medal, parallel bars, 1996

Gymnastics has taken Jair Lynch lots of places, among them Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996. Perhaps most important, it took the Sidwell Friends graduate to Stanford in 1989. He won two NCAA team titles there, but his adult life has been shaped as much by his academic endeavors in Palo Alto.

Arriving on campus two months before the Loma Prieta earthquake tore San Francisco apart, Lynch studied civil engineering and urban design—and watched as urban planners rebuilt a city he loves.

His first Olympics, the summer after his junior year, was marred by illness and inexperience, and his highest finish was sixth on parallel bars.

The road to Atlanta was different. By 1996, Lynch was a Stanford grad with a full-time job in real-estate development and no team to train with. The intervening four years had brought injury but also maturity. He won a silver medal on the parallel bars.

He left the sport after Atlanta and returned to work in Silicon Valley. He hadn’t planned to move back to his hometown of DC, but, he explains, “I had learned about knitting the scars of a disaster into the fabric of the rebuilt city, and I came back here and saw the same scars that had been here when I’d left.”

He formed Jair Lynch Development Partners with the goal of reinvigorating neglected neighborhoods. Lynch’s life and his company’s work—building a school in the District’s Shaw area, a new housing complex on H Street, Northeast—attempt to balance the same three elements required for successful gymnastics: risk, originality, and excellence.

Read more Olympic Moments.