inducted October 2, 2008
A native of Homer, Alaska, Stacey Borgman had never touched an oar until she rowed on the Harlem River as a sophomore at Barnard College. Eight years later, she was competing for the United State women’s rowing team at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.
At the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Borgman won the lightweight women’s double sculls, the culmination of a rowing career in which she won nine national titles at the U.S. Rowing National Championships.
A swimmer in high school, Borgman was unsure that she wanted to participate in sports in college but did so at the urging of her mother, who was familiar with another Alaskan rower who previously achieved Olympic success: Kris Thorsness, an Anchorage native, won a gold medal in open women’s eights at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. “You don’t even know how many times my mom has mentioned Kris Thorness,’’ Borgman said.
When Borgman decided to give rowing a try, not only did her work ethic impress the Columbia staff, her attitude and outlook were just as critical. “She was always upbeat and rarely negative,’’ Mike Zimmer, her college coach, said in a 2001 article in U.S. Rowing magazine. “She definitely has the ability to take things in stride.” Said like a true rowing coach, it was Borgman’s stride with the oar that helped her achieve her own Olympic success.
Borgman is currently married and practicing law in Portland, Oregon.