Getting to Know: Mary Whipple

If you know sports, you know the name Mary Whipple. You know that she is a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008, 2012) as the coxswain of the heralded Team USA women’s 8 squad. You probably know that she was an NCAA champ at the University of Washington as a freshman and that she also won silver at the 2004 Athens Games. But we know some things about Mary that you probably don’t, like who her hero is, what she would grab from her house in a fire or what’s her favorite thing about being an elite rower.

In the first in a new series about the off-the-field lives of your favorite female athletes, Mary shares with us some things she wants you to know!

1. If you could be an Olympian/World Champion/Professional athlete in any other sport than your own, what sport would that be? 

    Pipe snowboarding, a la Hannah Teeter or mountain biking like Jill Kitner

2. Who is your hero? In ten words or less, tell us why. 

    My sister, who became the Associate Head Coach for Cal women’s rowing by working her way up from being a high school rowing coach.

3. You’ve just finished your biggest competition of the year. With what food or dessert do you reward yourself for all your hard work and training? 
    Guacamole or anything Mexican-food related!

4. Everyone has that one song on their iPod that they would be embarrassed to share. What is yours? 

    Miley Cyrus, Party in the USA.

5. What advice would you give to your 14-year-old self? 
    Lift more weights!

6. There is a fire blazing inside your house. What one item do you grab to take with you? 

    My step-dog. I just married into the best 11-year-old dog named Telli. She is the best, really!

7. What quote do you live by? 

    Yolo! You Only Live Once.

8. Scariest moment in your career? Most thrilling/rewarding/proudest moment in your career? 
    Scariest: hitting a buoy during a race. It was huge and we deflated it. 
    Proudest: Defending out gold medal from Beijing

9. You’re allowed to spend one day as your favorite television character of all-time. Who are you? 

    Carrie Bradshaw or Lucille Ball.

10. When did you realize you had extra-special athletic abilities? 

    Making my first senior team in 2001.

11.What is the best thing about being an accomplished, elite athlete? The worst? 

    Best: Giving inspiration to junior rowers. 
    Worst: Turning down family gatherings due to training obligations.

12. Top three things on your bucket list? 

    Just one: become a collegiate rowing coach!

13. Favorite thing about your sport. Favorite thing about being a female athlete? 

    About rowing: having great teammates. 
    About being a female athlete: showing that being powerful is beautiful.

14. If you could solve a social issue, what issue/need/concern would it be? 

    Obesity. We need to get more people to move!

15. In 10 words or less, why are sports (physical activity) so important for girls to participate in? 

    It allows girls to feel capable and confident that they can compete and participate in anything.

16. Complete this sentence: “The Women’s Sports Foundation is important because:” 

    It allows women to fulfill their dreams.

17. What’s your next goal in sports, in life? 

    Learn to ski powder and start a coxswain summer camp.

Our Mission

The Women’s Sports Foundation is a non-profit that advances the lives of women through sports and physical activity.

About the Foundation


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