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Mary Whipple is competing in rowing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA.

Whipple's rowing career started the summer before her freshman year in high school. At the suggestion of her mother, Whipple and her twin sister, Sarah, started taking lessons in the single scull at a local rowing club. When the high school team saw them, they invited the sisters to join the team. Excited to get in the boat and row, Whipple was initially disappointed to learn there were higher hopes for her as a coxswain. "All I get to do is steer?" she remembers thinking, "How boring is that?" Her coach quickly coaxed her into coxing however, after explaining it was more of a "middle-management" type-role, where she would be able to call the shots in the boat.

On the rowing team throughout high school, both Mary and Sarah went on to row in college: Mary at the University of Washington and Sarah at the University of California, Davis. While at UW, Mary coxed the eight that won in 1999, 2001 and 2002. Sarah was a team captain at UC Davis and won a Division II championship as well. Mary first made the national team in 2001, and after graduating with a degree in communications in 2002, she left the west coast for Princeton to train.

Whipple says going to the Olympics in 2004 was an amazing experience. "You grow up watching the Olympics and it's ridiculous to think I was the one on TV." While it was exciting, she says she tried to treat it like she would any other race, so as not to get overwhelmed. The attitude, perhaps, was what helped her cox the eight to a silver medal, just behind the Romanians. "The medal was heavier than any of the other medals from other events," she said. Her silver medal hangs on her bedpost, to remind her of what she achieved.

Whipple had continued success as the premiere coxswain for the women's national team. In 2005, she coxed the eight that finished fourth at Worlds, only to return and win the world title in the eight in 2006 and 2007. At her second Olympic Games in 2008, Whipple coxed the U.S. women's eight to gold in Beijing. She and her teammates were named the 2008 World Rowing Female Crew of the Year by FISA.

The last time the U.S. women's eight won Olympic gold was in 1984. After the 2008 race, her teammates spoke about how Whipple reminded them of the 1984 team at the 1,000 meter mark, giving them the extra push they needed to cross the finish line first.

Whipple has been coaching since Beijing and also started a website called 9th Seat, where she interacts with fans through her blogs, coxing tips, question and answer sessions, and coaching lessons. Whipple re-joined the national team in 2010 and won gold in the eight at the 2010 World Rowing Championships. In 2011 she won gold in the eight at the 2011 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne, and earned gold at the 2011 World Rowing Championships — her fifth World Championships gold medal. In 2012, she was officially named the coxswain of her third Olympic eight crew.


How tall is Mary Whipple? How old is Mary Whipple? Where does Mary Whipple live? Find out here.

Age: 36 years old
Birthday: May 10, 1980
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 106 lbs.
Birthplace: Sacramento, CA
Hometown: Orangevale, CA
Current Residence: Princeton, NJ

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