One of the premier U.S. Olympics athletes in state history, Mary Whipple, former University of Washington star, went out on top in London as the coxswain of the American women’s eight that brought home the gold medal. It was her second gold after winning in Beijing in 2008 and third Olympic medal after a silver in Athens in 2004.
Her feats were celebrated Jan. 26 at Benaroya Hall when she claimed the female Star of the Year award, selected by online voters for the 78th annual Sports Star of the Year program.
Before the outcome was announced, Whipple, a Sacramento native and three-time nominee, talked with Art Thiel about her rowing career, the U.S. tradition in the sport and her new career in with a Seattle fitness company.
The 5-foot-3, 108-pound Whipple, 32, won a national title in 1999 as a UW freshman when she coxed the women’s varsity four to an NCAA title. The next year she helped win the Henley regatta in London after UW eight took second at the NCAA. Washington’s eight won the NCAA title in 2001 and 2002.