Catching up with Yumi Mordre

From this morning’s Seattle Times, a look at 1984 Olympic alternate Yumi Mordre:

Athlete: Yumi Mordre, Franklin Pierce, Class of 1984

Sport: Gymnastics

Rewind: Member of U.S. teams at 1983 World Championships and Pan American Games, where she won a gold medal on floor exercise and silver in all-around. Ninth at 1984 Olympic Trials and named first alternate to U.S. Olympic team.

After high school: Although courted by bigger gymnastics programs, Mordre went to Washington to be close to her family.

“I’d been away so much,” she said. “I wanted my parents to be able to see my home competitions. They really hadn’t seen much of my gymnastics career, because they’d spent all the money to fly me around.”

Mordre won NCAA titles on vault and balance beam in 1987, with nine Pac-10 titles and seven first-team All-American honors.

After athletics: Earned master’s in business from UW in 1991. Sales representative for IBM and StairMaster before becoming project manager at McCaw Cellular, which was later purchased by AT&T.

Personal: Mordre, 41, lives on Vashon Island with husband, Jason, a software architect, and son, Erik, 4.

Fast forward: Since 2004, Mordre has devoted herself to a new routine — managing her household as a stay-at-home mom.

Nearly 20 years since her last gymnastics competition, Mordre said the sport’s lessons about dedication, self-discipline and never giving up have stayed with her.

“All these things apply as you grow up,” she said. “They’re great tools for life later on.”

Mordre watches the Olympics on television and occasionally attends UW meets, but her involvement with the sport since retiring has been limited.

Erik, however, is changing that.

“My son enjoys tumbling classes, so now I’m back in the gym from a different vantage point,” she said.

Mordre had all the success that the USA’s “Bubble Girls” are enjoying today — she just had it 25 years ago. Her accolades are similar to someone like Ivana Hong’s: first with the team at the 1983 Pan American Games, 1983 World Championships team member, and then ninth place at the Olympic Trials.

Mordre said she was disappointed by not making the Olympic team (worse, as first alternate, she was training with the team in Los Angeles that summer of 1984. When it moved into the Olympic Village, she flew back home to Seattle.) But she got over it, realizing that gymnastics didn’t have to be the be all and end all of her life.

A good example for all those on the bubble right now in the U.S., but then again, we seem to be done with the days of uber-dramatic fluff pieces where it seemed like making an Olympic team was essential to a person’s survival.


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