About Mary Whipple

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9th Seat is the brainchild of Mary Whipple, Olympic gold medalist coxswain of the US women’s eight. Here you’ll find informative blog posts, tips and tricks, and opportunities to learn from the best!

New Jersey: Only the Strong Survive

Since moving back to Washington I’ve had to answer two basic questions when meeting someone for the first time.

  1. Where did you move from?
  2. What do you do?

This is all of course before dropping the Olympic bombshell upon meeting someone for the first time.  You see, I feel that I want to have the person get to know me as just plain ‘ole Mary before knowing what I’ve gotten to do and accomplish over the last better half of my life.

So the answer to the first question is, “I’ve recently moved from Princeton, NJ.

I’ve been living in New Jersey on and off for the past 12 years which sounds crazy to this West Coast girl.  I’ve gained some perspective since leaving that New Jersey is not the “arm pit of America” but truly is the “Garden State.”

On our afternoons off from training a bunch of us would drive east to the shore which I made plenty of exit errors because again to this West Coast girl, you head west to the beach not east!  Spending our time off at the shore reminded me of all the great things New Jersey has to offer.  Pizza by the slice,  home made ice cream parlors, and spending the night at friend’s shore houses are experiences that I will always remember.

So after Hurricane Sandy hit and destroyed most of the shore area my two friends Melissa Klepacki and Ali Cox formed a non-profit called Restore our Shore.  All money raised gets given out as grants to local businesses affected by the storm.  Their goal is to have a zero balance after every giving period.  So when asked to help out a place I’ve driven to countless of times to get a refreshing break from all the training stresses, it was a no-brainer.  After two months since the storm please keep those affected by Hurricane Sandy in your thoughts and prayers and for those who feel moved to do something to help please donate like I did.


As for answering question #2, that is a whole other blog post!


Steer Straight,




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Posted at Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 in: News

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