News & Politics

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

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

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

Read more Olympic Moments.