Aquil H. Abdullah won four letters in men’s rowing at GW from 1992-96. Aquil narrowly missed qualifying for the 2000 Summer Olympics at Sydney by .33 of a second. After losing in the 2000 Olympic Trials, Abdullah considered retiring from the sport. Instead, he resumed training, competed again and won the elite Diamond Sculls race at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta at Henley-on-the Thames in London in 2000. He continued to train in the lead up to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece and would compete in the Men's Double Scull event with Henry Nuzum. so.and in 2004 became the first African American man on the United States Olympic rowing team.
Abdullah, the second men’s rower elected to the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame, came to GW from nearby Wilson High School in Northwest Washington after starring as a 6-foot-1, 185-pound wide receiver on the Wilson football team. But he had started rowing as a high school senior and in 1992 accepted a rowing scholarship at George Washington where he majored in physics.
Michael Ranfone BS, CSCS, LMT, FRC, ART is the founder and president of Ranfone Training Systems located in Hamden, Connecticut. For the past decade he’s dedicated himself to improving athletes as a performance coach and manual therapist.
Mike graduated Cum Laude from Union College with degrees in Economics and Psychology—earning recognition in the National Honor Society of each discipline. While at Union, Mike excelled on the football field—he was a four-year letter winner, three-year all-league and all-league academic starter. He served as a captain during his senior campaign. His football career culminated in several tryouts for Arena and Canadian Football League teams.
He started his professional career at Yale—serving as the Strength and Conditioning coordinator for more than 500 Division I athletes. In 2005 he returned to school and incorporated Ranfone Training Systems. Since then, he’s coached and treated thousands of athletes—while also consulting with professional and collegiate sports teams.
Mike’s given performance enhancement lectures at private venues and universities across the United States—focusing on strength and movement improvement. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) as recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, a Licensed Massage Therapist in Connecticut, a Level 2 Functional Movement Specialist, as well as the only Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist and Functional Range Release practitioner in Connecticut and is a certified practitioner in Active Release Therapy (ART) among other specialized techniques.
My guest for this episode of the LEO Training Podcast is Jim Joy.
Jim Joy has coached at the University of Western Ontario, M.I.T, Yale University and Wesleyan University, and Hobart and William Smith. Jim also helped start Craftsbury Sculling Camp, the first rowing camp of its kind in North America.
Jim founded and has run the Joy of Sculling coaching conferences, for more than 25 years. This conference has drawn more than 5,000 coaches from youth programs, clubs, schools, colleges and national teams across the country and is focused on education and athletic development in rowing.
Jim is well known for his holistic and technical approach to a cyclical non-fragmented rowing stroke, where there is a strong bond between body, shell and water, creating a state of flow within an integrated whole.
It is this approach to the rowing stroke where our interview will focus its attention toward.
Here are 3 things you will learn:
This week's guest is Dr. Carlo Varalda. Dr. Varalda is the Executive Director of NSCA Italy. He has worked with the Italian Rowing Federation and currently is working with the Italian Short Track Team in preparation for the Winter Olympics. His work focuses on research for the improvement of performance and methods for the assessment of athletes. He evaluates muscle, posture, and function. Dr. Varalda is convinced that there is still a lot to do in the sport and, more generally, in the movement for all age groups.