Carie Graves was raised on a farm in Spring Green in a family of rowing enthusiasts. She joined UW-Madison’s rowing team during her sophomore year in 1973 and was a letter winner from 1974 to 1976. In 1975, she and her team took second place at the World Rowing Championships in England — the best finish ever for U.S. women at that time. Graves earned a degree in English from UW in 1976. That same year, she made the U.S. team for the Summer Olympics in Montreal and won a bronze medal in the eight-oared shell category there. She qualified again for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but did not compete because of the U.S. boycott that year.
As UW’s only three-time Olympian, in 1984 Graves again qualified for the Olympic Games and won a gold medal in Los Angeles. She earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Harvard University in 1985. Graves became a coach and built distinguished rowing programs at Northeastern University in Boston and also at Harvard University. In 1991, Graves was inducted into the UW Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1998, she helped launch the rowing program at the University of Texas, and she became the head coach there. During her time at Texas, Graves led her team to two consecutive NCAA championship appearances in 2003 and 2004. She also led Texas to victory at the Big 12 Rowing Championships in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. She coached for the University of Texas for 16 years before retiring.
In 2016, Carie Graves was inducted into the National Rowing Hall of Fame.
Carie Graves passed away from Alzheimer’s on December 19, 2021, at the age of 68.
Baggot, Andy. “After 40 years with Title IX, level playing field is reality at UW.” Madison.com, June 23, 2012. http://host.madison.com/sports/columnists/andy_baggot/after-years-with-title-ix-level-playing-field-is-reality/article_5fc400ae-bcb0-11e1-89f2-0019bb2963f4.html.
“Carie Graves.” UW Athletic Hall of Fame. https://uwbadgers.com/honors/university-of-wisconsin-athletic-hall-of-fame/carie-graves/78
Ivey, Mike. “Q&A: The story isn’t over for former Olympic rower, Title IX pioneer Carie Graves.” The Cap Times, March 15, 2015. http://host.madison.com/ct/sports/amateur/q-a-the-story-isn-t-over-for-former-olympic/article_2726130c-7008-5632-9832-35f2e446cedd.html.
“Rowing head coach Carie Graves announces retirement after 16 seasons.” University of Texas Athletics, May 22, 2014. http://www.texassports.com/news/2014/5/22/WROW_0522145507.aspx.
“Wisconsin hall-of-famer and Olympic rowing medalist Carie Graves dies at 68.” Wisconsin State Journal, December 21, 2021. https://madison.com/wsj/sports/college/wisconsin-hall-of-famer-and-olympic-rowing-medalist-carie-graves-dies-at-68/article_6e719b5d-cf78-5522-a35e-0de4e255fb20.html