Saturday, 11 September 2010 13:48

In Memorium: Mari-Rae Sopper

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Today we honor the heroes of September 11th, 2001, including those who lost their lives.  One of those people, Mari-Rae Sopper, closely touched the collegiate gymnastics community.  As you may know, Mari-Rae Sopper was Head Coach of the University of California, Santa Barbara's women's gymnastics team.  She was also a former standout collegiate gymnast and team captain for Iowa State.  Many of you knew her in the capacity of coach, teammate, competitor, colleague and friend.  In hours and days following 9/11, many of us suddenly realized the person we knew as "ISUFan", an enthusiastic supporter and contributor on the online college gymnastics forums, was actually Mari-Rae.


Mari-Rae Sopper had given up a career as a successful lawyer in D.C. and took a large cut in pay to pursue her dream.  As Head Coach of the UCSB program, she was determined to save the program from elimination.  She had chosen to devote herself fully to the sport she loved and to live her dream.  You can find out more about Mari-Rae's remarkable life, courage and enthusiasm at the memorial web site set up by her family.  After the tragedy, her family set up the Mari-Rae Sopper Memorial Gymnastics Fund to honor her memory and to extend her dream.  The nonprofit fund seeks to support women's gymnastics at the collegiate and youth level. 

Additional links about Mari-Rae:

Mari-Rae Sopper Memorial Web Site

Her mom's message at the site

9/12/01:  UCSB Memorial Remembrance

Additional links from Google


"...let the official record say, Mari-Rae Sopper, when last seen, was headed toward her dream"

--Mike Sharples, former Head Coach, ISU

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