The moment eight-year-old Christine Furlong stepped into a gym, she fell in love with the sport of gymnastics. She began her career training at Alt’s Gymnastics in Shrewsbury and quickly advanced from training in simple instructional classes to competing at the private club level. At Red Bank Catholic, Christine was a standout gymnast. In her sophomore year, she helped lead the Caseys to an undefeated season and the Shore Conference Title. That same year she won the individual Shore Conference Title, tied for first in the Sectional Meet, captured the individual State Championship crown, and was named The Asbury Park Press Athlete of the Week.
As a junior, Christine earned a spot on the Region VII National Team, competing at the National Championships in Boca Raton, Florida. During this time she was also competing at a high level within the United States Association of Independent Gymnastics Clubs and, in 2000, The Sunday Star Ledger honored her by naming her one of the top ten gymnasts in the state of New Jersey of the 1980’s.
One of New Jersey’s most highly recruited high school gymnasts in 1987, Christine accepted a full athletic scholarship to the University of Michigan. In her first season competing for the Wolverines she established herself as an intricate part of the program, competing as an all-around gymnast. In her first meet she finished first on the balance beam, setting a new Michigan record. At the 1989 Big Ten Championships, she placed second on the vault and was named All-Big Ten. During a competition in February of 1990, Christine suffered a career-ending injury dismounting the beam. She went on to graduate from Michigan in 1991 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and in 1993 married her college sweetheart, Richard O’Connell. Christine worked as an Account Executive for AT&T for five years before choosing to stay home and raise her four children, and says, “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for all the blessings in my life.”
Christine will be inducted into the 2018 Class of the RBC Athletic Hall of Fame at a ceremony on June 23rd. Visit the school website for complete event details and tickets.