Dennis Janson: Rowing championship brings an accidental brush with Hollywood and royalty

Hopefully the facility at East Fork State Park's William H. Harsha Lake will be restored to its former luster for the U.S. Rowing Club National Championships in 2015.

That luster was never more evident than in 1984 when organizers pulled out all the stops to publicize the gathering of the nation’s best collegiate rowers.

It was kicked off at an associate's New Richmond home, which with its expansive view of the Ohio River, seemed a perfect setting for the gala. Partygoers sported straw boaters, crested blazers and even a few spats (not the verbal kind), lending the evening an authentic regatta feel.  
 
 It also provided an interview opportunity with one John B. Kelly, Jr. Jack, as he was known in rowing circles, was the personification of his sport -- as well as his future role as Chairman of the United States Olympic Committee.

Tall, broad shouldered and strikingly handsome, he was made available to talk about the upcoming event. And though apparently high born, he was more than affable and quite adept at describing the intricacies of the sport, its lineage and future in terms even a layman could understand.

Insiders can find out who Kelly's sister was and why he was such a gentleman.

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