Sportspress Northwest continues its series of biographical sketches of athletes with significant ties to Washington who will compete in the Olympics.
Leo Randolph is the most recent boxer with state ties to win a medal, claiming gold in flyweight at the 1976 Games at Montreal. Washington will be represented by one boxer in London.
2012 BOXING OLYMPIAN
BORN: May 8, 1984, Seattle. RESIDENCE: Seattle. SPORT: Boxing EVENT: Lightweight (132 pounds). COUNTRY: USA. OLYMPICS (1st): 2012. HOW QUALIFIED: Selected by AIBA, the international governing body of amateur boxing. STATE CONNECTION: Seattle native, Garfield High graduate.
Underwood won the first women's Olympic boxing team trials in February, but dropped a one-point decision at the World Championships in May, falling just short of Olympic qualification and jeopardizing her berth in London’s 12-fighter lightweight field. But in June, the AIBA, which governs international amateur boxing, announced that Underwood would be added to the Olympic team.
CAREER: Underwood’s ambition has always been to win a gold medal at the London Games, where women’s boxing will make its Olympic debut. Her passion for the gold is fueled in part by the fact that she was abused as a child and survived the ordeal by dreaming of one day doing something extraordinary.
“One day,” she told an interviewer this year, “I'm going to be 'Queen of the Ring' and nobody will ever hurt me again. One day, I won't be 12 years old and feeling helpless; one day I'll be strong and unstoppable. This is the dream that kept me from losing my mind in the midst of abuse and violation."
A Garfield High School graduate who trains at Cappy’s Boxing Gym in the Seattle's Central District, Underwood took another step to realizing her dream by capturing her fifth consecutive U.S. Lightweight Boxing championship at the 132-pound weight class last summer in Colorado Springs, CO, defeating Floridian Tiara Brown on points 23-21.
Underwood started boxing at 18, seven years before the sport was voted onto the Olympic calendar. International sports officials originally perceived boxing to be too dangerous for women, though women have suffered few serious injuries in the ring.
In 2009, the International Olympic Committee gave the sport the green light, nudged by the fact that men's boxing was the only summer Olympic sport lacking a female counterpart.
Underwood told KOMO that when the Games arrive, she will be ready. “I’m going there with gold on my mind,” she said, “and I’m going there feeling unstoppable.”
PERSONAL: In addition to boxing, Underwood has participated in track and basketball . . . Loves to listen to music, but does not watch any TV . . . Played the viola in the school orchestra.BOXING MEDALS BY WASHINGTONIANSGOLD: Pete Rademacher (Pullman), heavyweight, 1952 Helsinki; Sugar Ray Seales (Tacoma), light welterweight, 1972 Munich; Leo Randolph (Tacoma), flyweight, 1976 Montreal. SILVER: None. BRONZE: None.Olympic QualifiersAthletes with connections to the state who have qualified (or been selected) for the Games.
|Athlete||Sport||Gms. #||Country||State Connection|
|Nathan Adrian||Swimming||2||USA||Bremerton native|
|Scott Baynes||Basketball||1||Australia||WSU grad|
|Sue Bird||Basketball||3||USA||Seattle Storm guard|
|Kim Butler||Basketball||1||G. Britain||Bellarmine Prep|
|Dave Calder||Rowing||4||Canada||University of Washington|
|Will Crothers||Rowing||1||Canada||University of Washington|
|Tyler Farrar||Cycling||1||USA||Wenatchee native|
|Amanda Furrer||Shooting||1||USA||Mead High, Spokane|
|Scott Gault||Rowing||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Rob Gibson||Rowing||1||Canada||University of Washington|
|Lauren Jackson||Basketball||4||Australia||Seattle Storm forward|
|Anthony Jacob||Rowing||1||Canada||University of Washington|
|Ebba Jungmark||Track||2||Sweden||WSU grad|
|Seth Kelsey||Fencing||3||Canada||Brush Prairie|
|Ariana Kukors||Swimming||1||USA||Auburn Mountainview|
|Meagan Kalmoe||Rowing||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Bernard Lagat||Track||4||USA||Washington State University|
|Giuseppe Lanzone||Rowing||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Amy LePeilbet||Soccer||1||USA||Spokane native|
|Adrienne Lyle||Equestrian||1||USA||University of Washington|
|Adrienne Martelli||Rowing||1||USA||University of Washington|
|Arielle Martin||Cycling||1||USA||Spanaway native|
|Conlin McCabe||Rowing||1||Canada||University of Washington|
|Tamari Miyashiro||Volleyball||1||USA||University of Washington|
|Haley Nemra||Track||2||Marshall Is.||Marys.-Pilchuck|
|Brett Newlin||Rowing||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Kara Patterson||Track||2||USA||Seattle native|
|Jennie Reed||Cycling||3||USA||Seattle native|
|Jarred Rome||Track||2||USA||Marys.-Pilchuck High|
|Janine Sandell||Volleyball||1||Great Britain||University of Washington|
|Hope Solo||Soccer||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Travis Stevens||Judo||2||USA||Bellevue native|
|Courtney Thompson||Volleyball||1||USA||University of Washington|
|Queen Underwood||Boxing||1||USA||Seattle resident|
|Eric Uptagrafft||Shooting||1||USA||Spokane resident|
|Tejay van Garderen||Cycling||1||USA||Tacoma native|
|Brad Walker||Track||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Mary Whipple||Rowing||3||USA||University of Washington|