When the 2012 Olympic Games commence at the end of this week the legacy of Denver Broncos Head Coach Red Miller will continue.
Among the Colorado residents who will be intently watching the events on their television sets will be the coach who led the Broncos to our first American Football Conference Championship and appearance in Super Bowl XII, Robert "Red" Miller.
The Broncos made their first three playoff appearances and posted the first two division titles in franchise history under Red, who brought the highest degrees of experience, passion and the ability to relate to his players to the Mile High City.
But Red Miller will be watching the American rowing team more closely than any other, as his granddaughter, Taylor Ritzel, is a member of the women's eight for the heavily favored American rowing team.
"She actually had never been in a boat to row during high school," Red says, noting with pride that Taylor was "a tremendous swimmer at Douglas County High School, but she sustained an injury in her senior year that stopped her swimming."
However, her 6-3, 185 pound athletic frame quickly attracted the attention of Ivy League rowing teams, and Taylor Ritzel opted to attend Yale, where she was captain of the crew team for the Bulldogs. "She told them she had never done it before, but they said she had the right body for crew, tremendous grades, and she is very, very competitive. So she did it," Red says.
She has been on the American national rowing team for four years and was a Division I first team All-American at Yale from 2008-10.
Taylor lists her most memorable sporting achievement as winning the varsity eight at the 2010 NCAA Championships, and she can claim a bevy of international honors as well.
Included among those are winning gold and setting a world record (5.54.17) in the heat in the eight at the Samsung World Rowing Cup II, winning gold in the eight at the 2010 World Rowing Championships, while also winning gold in the eight at the 2010 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
But if things go as Taylor and her legendary grandfather hope in London, she will be able to significantly update that list of most memorable achievement to include an Olympic medal.
While the generations are twice removed, Taylor Ritzel will be representing the Denver Broncos family in this year's Summer Olympics, and we wish her the same success the Broncos had when Red Miller used to tell the team, "Remember, the fourth quarter belongs to Denver!"
Good luck, Taylor!