From London To In Love
Three-time Olympic medalist Mary Whipple with husband Ryan Murray and several of her Olympic teammates.
Lake Wenatchee State Park has more than 12,000 feet of waterfront property along picturesque Lake Wenatchee and the Wenatchee River in central Washington state. Look down the river and you can see the mountains, which are a part of the Cascade Range.
What better venue for three generations of Olympic rowers who gathered there in late September to watch two-time Olympic gold medalist Mary Whipple marry Ryan Murray, a backcountry skiing expert.
“It was definitely an amazing experience to have three generations of women’s eights in attendance,” Whipple says. “So it was a great reunion.”
Whipple’s Sept. 22 wedding was just one memorable example in a number of 2012 Olympians who have heard wedding bells since the London 2012 Olympic Games ended, or became engaged to be married after the Olympic Games.
Two-time Olympic fencer Tim Morehouse took to the beach of Key West, Fla., in December to marry Rachael Kun, an associate producer for the CBS news show, 60 Minutes. Two-time Olympic medalist diver David Boudia and his bride, Sonnie Brand, were wed in a downtown Indianapolis hotel. Janay DeLoach, a bronze medalist in the long jump in London, married Patrick Soukup in Colorado, just a few days after she was honored by a homecoming ceremony in Fort Collins.
Still to come: A planned wedding on April 6 in San Antonio, Texas, for swimmers Matt Grevers and Annie Chandler. On Valentine’s Day 2012, Grevers proposed to Chandler on the medal stand at the Missouri Grand Prix. A few months later Grevers, a six-time Olympic medalist, won two golds in London.
Several other Olympians have become engaged since the Olympic Games ended, including Mariel Zagunis, a three-time Olympian and two-time gold medalist in fencing, and Kayla Harrison, a gold medalist in judo.
The venues of Olympians’ weddings have ranged from outdoor settings, as evidenced by the Whipple and Morehouse nuptials, to the unique downtown Indianapolis wedding of Boudia, in which the 370 invitees sat around Boudia and his bride in a 360-degree design.
|Gold medalist diver David Boudia and wife Sonnie Brand|
“It was a little different,” Boudia said. “We did the ceremony in the center and we placed the chairs around us. I thought that was a pretty cool addition to it.”
Olympic teammates participating at the weddings was a common thread. Boudia had several teammates and other USA Diving members at his wedding. Whipple’s wedding included 2012 Olympic teammate Erin Cafaro and 2008 Olympic teammates Missy Schutte and Anna Geddell as bridesmaids. Tia Brooks, a 2012 Olympic shot putter, was the maid of honor at Olympic javelin thrower Brittany Borman’s wedding.
And with all those Olympians involved in training and then competing last summer in London, fiancées and family members happily carried on with the planning and coordination of the weddings.
While Whipple was rowing, her mother, Meg Whipple, and aunt, Teri Corle, turned into wedding coordinators.
“They just really hit the ball out of the park in terms of decorating and having the atmosphere,” Mary Whipple said. “It was a great outdoor wedding.”
In the days just before the wedding, the entire family pitched in by preparing the napkins and tables and performing other necessary chores.
“They loved being a part of it and helping,” Whipple said. “It kind of made it more magical because then we could kind of sit back and actually party afterward because everything was done. It’s kind of like a freight train. Once that train was moving, you had to get on it.”
The same thing happened for the Brand-Boudia wedding and reception, which was held at The Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis.
“Sonnie and her mom worked extremely hard on the decorating,” he said. “It was a really extravagant wedding.”
Two-time Olympic medalist hurdler Dawn Harper and Alonzo Nelson have known each other since eighth grade, when Dawn beat all of the boys in a hurdle race (except Alonzo!). They remained close over the years and started dating for more than a year.
Nelson proposed on Christmas Eve. He gave Dawn two gifts, one a box of her favorite snack and one a picture book with photos from their relationship. "On the last page, however, I left a note, 'I don't want to be your friend anymore, Dawn Harper will you marry me?'" Alonzo told TeamUSA.org in an email. "As she read it, I was on a knee with the ring. I GOT HER!"
Now they are planning their wedding but Harper is in Los Angeles and Nelson is in St. Louis.
“There are a lot of FaceTime meetings with the wedding planner and emails,” Nelson said in an email, “but we wouldn't have it any other way.”
Here is a look at many of the Olympians' weddings and proposals:
|Brittany Borman and her maid of honor, fellow 2012 Olympian
Sport: Track (javelin)
Wedding date: September 22
Married to: Boldiszar Kocsor, former UCLA hammer thrower
Notable: Tia Brooks, an Olympian in shot put, was Borman’s maid of honor.
Wedding date: October 12
Wedding venue: Indianapolis
Married to: Sonnie Brand
Notable: Boudia, the 2012 gold medalist in 10-meter platform diving, proposed to Sonnie Brand during a May 2012 party in which Sonnie thought it was an Olympics party for Boudia. During a party game of charades, Boudia pulled the engagement ring out of the couch, got down on one knee and popped the question. “Little did Sonnie know that it was actually her own engagement party that she was planning and decorating,” Boudia said. Five weeks before the party, Boudia said he asked Sonnie’s father permission to propose to Sonnie.
Sport: Rowing (men’s four)
Wedding date: September 22
Married to: Catherine Snell
Notable: Cole was part of the bronze-medal winning men’s four rowing team at the London 2012 Olympic Games, which marked the first time Team USA earned a medal in the event since the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.
JESSICA COSBY TORUGA
Sport: Track (hammer throw)
Wedding date: August 25
Wedding venue: California
Married to: David Toruga
Notable: Cosby placed third in the hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic Trials to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games. She placed seventh in the qualifying round in London. She also represented Team USA in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Sport: Track (long jump)
Wedding date: September 8
Married to: Patrick Soukup
Notable: Just two days before her wedding in Colorado, DeLoach, who earned a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, was honored during a homecoming ceremony in at Old Town Square in Fort Collins, Colo. Among those at the event were her father, William, who came from southern California to attend both the Fort Collins homecoming event and the wedding. The day after her wedding, she attended a Denver Broncos game, where she was among several Olympians honored.
|Silver medalist archer Brady Ellison with wife Samantha Novak|
Wedding date: October 2012
Married to: Samantha Novak
Notable: Novak attended both the USA Archery Olympic Trials and the London 2012 Olympic Games. Ellison proposed to Novak after one of the Olympic Trial sessions in April 2012. Said Novak: “It’s great to be part of people’s dreams and see their training and dedication. It’s great that archery is such a small sport and has more of the feeling of family and community.”
Wedding date: April 6, 2013, San Antonio, Texas
Engaged to: Annie Chandler, also an elite national swimmer. They train together at Tucson (Ariz.) Ford Aquatics.
Notable: Grevers’ marriage proposal to Chandler may be the most famous in Olympic sports history. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist proposed to Chandler atop the medal podium at the Missouri Grand Prix after winning the 100-meter backstroke. Chandler, also competing in the meet, still had an event of her own to swim. The video quickly popped up on YouTube and has accumulated more than 3.2 million views. “I didn’t think anyone would see it,” Grevers told foxsports.com. “It was just going to be friends and family, so when I heard like 10,000 people had viewed it, I was like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’ And then a couple days later, it was like two and a half million or something. It was so crazy.”
|Two-time Olympic medalist Dawn Harper and fiancée Alonzo Nelson
in the exact spot they first locked eyes in eighth grade.
Sport: Track (hurdles)
Wedding date: March 23, 2013
Engaged to: Alonzo Nelson
Notable: Harper, who won the 100-meter hurdles at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and then finished second in the event at the London 2012 Olympic Games, was in New York in January filming an episode of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, a reality TV show which advertises itself as “part fashion show, part bridal therapy.”
Wedding date: TBD
Engaged to: Aaron Handy, her training partner
Notable: Harrison won gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, becoming the first U.S. judoka, man or woman, to win Olympic gold. While previously saying she would retire from the sport if she won gold in London, Harrison told the Associated Press in late August she is considering remaining in the sport internationally so that she can compete at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.
|Silver medalist fencer Tim Morehouse and wife Rachael Kun
Wedding: December 15
Wedding venue: Casa Marina, Waldorf Astoria Resort, Key West, Fla.
Married to: Rachael Kun, associate producer, CBS 60 Minutes
Notable: Morehouse married Kun in a beach ceremony in Key West, Fla. The bride and groom walked under fencing swords held by groomsmen. Among the groomsmen were Jason Rogers, a 2008 Olympic teammate of Morehouse, and best man Jaime Marti, an Olympic fencer from Spain. “I feel so lucky to have such beautiful, smart and caring woman to share my life with now. I couldn‘t be happier,” Morehouse told US Weekly magazine.
Wedding date: September 8
Wedding venue: Maple Glen, Pa.
Married to: Ashleigh Kreider, 2005 graduate of Princeton and employee of Citigroup
Notable: Newlin and Kreider met when he was training at the USRowing Training Center in Princeton. She was a '05 Princeton grad, worked for Citi in NYC during his Olympic training cycles. They live in Conshohoken, Pa. now, as both work in Philadelphia. Newlin retired from competitive rowing following the London 2012 Olympic Games.
|Three-time Olympian Jennifer Nichols with husband Chris Hardy
Wedding date: September 1
Wedding venue: Texas
Married to: Chris Hardy, law school student, in Houston
Notable: As Nichols trained for and competed in the Olympic Games, Hardy planned for the wedding. Hardy and Nichols spent many days emailing links about wedding venues and photographers. “We Skype like crazy,” she told US Weekly. In an interview with US, Nichols, 28, said she didn’t kiss a man until she was 27 years old. “I saved my first kiss for the man I knew I was to marry — my fiancé,” she said. “I made that commitment when I was about 13 years old. I knew that I wanted to save my kiss on top of purity. I felt like a kiss was something very special and I wanted to save that.”
Wedding date: September 22
Wedding venue: Lake Wenatchee State Park, Washington
Married to: Ryan Murray, a backcountry skiing expert who manages the Cascades Power Cats
Notable: Mary has a twin sister, Sarah. They both began rowing together for the Capitol Crew in Sacramento, Calif. Sarah was the matron of honor for Mary.
|Silver medalist archer Jacob Wukie and wife Brianne Pinkerton|
Wedding date: December 1
Wedding venue: Fremont, Ohio
Married to: Brianne Pinkerton
Notable: Wukie proposed to Pinkerton on May 19, between the second and third U.S. Olympic Trials. After receiving permission from Pinkertons’ parents to propose, Wukie said he planned a day on Kelley’s Island in Lake Erie. When they were alone on the shore, he dropped to one knee and proposed. “The rest,” he says, “is history.” Wukie earned a silver medal in the team competition in his Olympic debut at the London 2012 Olympic Games. “Everybody grows up watching the Olympics, so to actually be an Olympian is really an honor,” Wukie said.