Mary Whipple has her eyes on the gold in this year’s Olympics in London. She and her team won gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and silver in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Mary is the coxswain for the USA Women’s 8 rowing team. She is the boat's captain/coach and considered the best coxswain in the world. She faces forward during the race while the eight rowing athletes face her, keeping their backs to the finish line. Her role is to steer the boat and yell out instructions that will keep the team at peak performance. Her teammates say she uses her “boat voice” and are left to trust her command.
Mary was kind enough to be interviewed for my book, See To Play. I wanted to find out how she uses her eyes for the other eight athletes during competition. I also wanted to find out how the rowers use their eyes since they are basically rowing blind.
The interview was incredible. Mary is a fierce competitor and, as with all elite athletes, her preparation, perception and training is intense. I learned more from her interview than I ever imagined. She told me what she looks at during the race, what she watches and what the athletes do with their eyes. What I found most interesting was her intense focus and use of her mind’s eye to help her team prepare and compete.
The race for the gold is tomorrow (Thursday, August 2) at 7:30 am eastern time. I will be glued in to the television with the rest of the US and rooting our team to gold!
I’ve attached the video of the gold win in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Click here to read more about Mary.
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