News & Politics

Olympic Moments: Jair Lynch

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

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

Jair Lynch
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.