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Bio alumna, Olympic gold medalist returns to Purdue


It was a golden homecoming for Biological Sciences alumna Amanda Elmore.

Fresh from her gold medal performance with the U.S. women’s rowing team at the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Elmore returned to campus Sept. 8 for a rare visit. Since her 2013 Purdue graduation, she enrolled as a graduate student at University of Michigan to study Biomedical Sciences, just before she became the youngest member of the U.S. national women’s rowing team.

The highlight of the day was a reception at the Purdue Crew clubhouse near the Wabash River in West Lafayette. A West Lafayette native, Elmore got plenty of hugs from family, friends and classmates from Harrison High School, where she was a track star. The now 25-year-old athlete’s legend started at Purdue Crew, where she got her first rowing experience. Her brothers Steven Elmore and Andrew Elmore, who is a Purdue Physics and Astronomy Outstanding Alumnus, rowed, and little sister followed in their oar strokes. Amanda Elmore is the daughter of David Elmore, a professor emeritus from Purdue Physics.

Amanda Elmore

Many current rowers and her former teammates turned out to reconnect with Elmore, who wore her medal around her neck with pride. The 5' 11" Olympian regaled the crowd with tales from Rio and her rowing rise.

“Race day, we woke up at 4:25 a.m.,” Elmore recalled. “You feel numb. I’ve been nervous before but the nervousness was painful. You couldn’t do anything but look straight ahead.

“When we were on the water, every stroke is so focused. The amount of focus in the boat is so unreal, the commitment to the rhythm."

Multiple local media outlets were on hand to document Elmore’s return. She said she will will eventually return to Michigan to complete her graduate degree.

“I’m excited to look forward to the next stage of my life with so much confidence that I’ve gained from this,” Elmore said. “Being able be at the starting line of the Olympic finals has given me so much confidence for the rest of my life.”

The youngest member of the Olympic women’s rowing squad, Elmore foresees more rowing in the future:

“I feel like I have more to do. It’s still fun for me.”

Elmore's gold

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