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Neenah native and UW grad competing for Team USA Rowing in Tokyo

Posted at 6:05 AM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 14:02:15-04

NEENAH — Maddie Wanamaker is keeping a tradition alive.

When the University of Wisconsin product competes for Team USA Rowing in Tokyo, the Badgers will have had an Olympic rowing participant in every Olympics since 1968.

"They have a pretty big display of all the Wisconsin Olympians in the main lobby of the boathouse," Wanamaker says. "I think they told us that on day one, when there were about 100 walk-ons in a meeting, I remember thinking it was so gimmicky, but it did stick with me."

Wanamaker will race in the women's four. The Neenah native is kind of like the quarterback of the boat.

"I'm in bough seat, where you have someone who is lighter and more technical," she says. "The bough is in charge of the set of the boat, and keeping it running straight."

Wanamaker is disappointed there won't be fans in Tokyo, especially her family and two friends who planned to surprise her. But it doesn't diminish the accomplishment.

"It's obviously a hit not to have the interactions, but if that's the price to make it happen, I'm happy not to leave my room," Wanamaker says. "I'm just happy it will happen in any capacity even if it's not awesome."

Wanamaker begins racing Friday night.

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