BY SPNW Staff 12:02PM 07/28/2012

State Links To London Olympics: Boxing

Queen Underwood of Garfield High School has her dream come true by making the first Olympics featuring women’s boxing.

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.


Queen Underwood


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.


GOLD: 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 Qualifiers

Athletes 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
Aretha Thurmond Track 4 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


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