Michigan State rowing team dedicates boat to late teammate
Spartans remember teammate Olivia Long.
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s been just over a year since the Michigan State rower Olivia Long was tragically killed in an automobile accident last August.
Now set to open a new season this week, the team is still keeping Long close in their hearts.
The Spartans will begin a new season for the first time without their teammate.
But over the weekend, the team dedicated an entire boat to Long, after two teammates Emily Petrosky and Erica McIntee proposed a fundraiser.
Once the fundraiser was launched, Spartan Nation showed up and met the goal in just six days.
“It’s just crazy seeing it all come to a finish,” Petrosky, who was part of Long’s same recruiting class said. “Like, we put in the time, we put in the effort, we were able to fundraise a mass amount of money to do something that’s gonna honor her forever.”
The time it took to raise the money needed is besides the point.
But now that the boat has a permanent home in the MSU boat house, it’s a large step in trying to move on.
“The task at hand of fundraising for the boat for her teammates was something to kind’ve help give them closure that she remain on and be celebrated and remembered through our program,” MSU head coach Kim Chavers said.
Long’s parents Mike and Arana were joined by a large contingency of MSU rowers, gathered around the new boat, sharing memories, tears and laughs.
Attendees were there also to celebrate Olivia’s life, which was everything she stood for.
“The one thing about Liv was she always wanted to bring people together,” McIntee said. “So things like this, it’s something Liv would’ve wanted, all of us celebrating her here.”
Long was a daughter, a rower, a teammate, a student, but most importantly, a friend to all.
That’s part of her lasting legacy on the MSU community.
“Olivia is one of the founding members of a student athlete affinity group on campus, the Spartan Pride Alliance, for student athletes and allies of the LGBTQ+ community,” Chavers said. “She was one of the founding members of that initiative and it’s a legacy that she’s left here within Michigan State athletics. "
Now having her very own boat, every time her team hits the water this season and beyond, Long will be with her teammates every step of the way.
“Boats are life long,” Petrosky said. “We’re gonna be able to row in it for as long as we want and just sort of live her legacy on.”
In their daughter’s memory, Mike and Arana Long have started a scholarship in her name that will be given out each season to a member on the rowing team.
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