Mount Holyoke’s Golden Olympic History

As the 2012 summer Olympic games open, we celebrate MHC women who have stood on the medalists’ blocks in previous years.


Holly Metcalf ’81 knows firsthand the heart-thumping excitement and pressure this year’s Olympians are experiencing. As part of the 1984 US crew team, Metcalf won a gold medal with the women’s heavyweight eight.

The six-time national/Olympic team member started her rowing career as an MHC sophomore, when friends urged her to join them in the then two-year-old club sport.  Although she’d grown up playing varsity field hockey and basketball, she got excited about rowing…and eventually stood on the top medalist block with her Olympic gold medal.

Metcalf’s Olympic days may be over, but she is still very involved with rowing. She is founder and executive director of We Can Row—Boston (formerly known as Row as One), which “teaches the values of rowing to adolescent girls from high-risk neighborhoods, to develop strength, discipline, confidence, self-esteem , and mutual support.”


  • Mount Holyoke’s record stretches back to 1928, when Margaret Hoffman ’34 swam to a gold medal in the breaststroke.
  • Alpine skier Imogene Opton Fish ’55 was captain of the US women’s Olympic ski team in 1952, and was the nation’s top-ranked skier while still an undergraduate.
  • Michele Drolet ’76, a blind cross-country skier, was the first American woman to ever earn a Paralympics cross country ski medal (a bronze at the 1994 winter games).
  • Mary Mazzio ’83 was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic crew team, placing eleventh in the women’s double event.
  • Olga Maria Sacasa ’84 was the first woman ever to represent Nicaragua in Olympic cycling when she competed in the 1992 Barcelona games.


…and a tip of the hat goes to Barbara Cassani ’82, the American-born businesswoman who led Britain’s initial bid to have the games held in London.

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