Friends and family cheer on Brooke Mooney

Peru, Vt. native, US Women’s 8 finish 4th
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 10:39 AM EDT
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KEENE VALLEY, N.Y. (WCAX) - There were three Vermonters competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and on Thursday, friends and family of Brooke Mooney gathered at her family’s new home in Keene Valley, N.Y. to cheer her and the US women’s 8 on.

“It’s very emotional, and we’ve been sort of on edge all week,” said Brooke’s mother Tamra before the race. “And we just want them to be able to get to that start line healthy, have a clean race, and do what they know how to do best.

With the Peru, Vt. native Mooney and her boat competing in their rowing final, back in our area, Brooke’s parents Tamra and Jim welcomed family and friends from around the region to a special watch party. As a competitive cross country skier growing up, her parents might not have been wildly shocked to see her eventually become an olympian, but competing in the Summer games was a bit more surprising.

“Five years ago crew would have been a real surprise. Maybe 7 years ago,” said her father Jim. “So that part surprises me, but the fact that she had the stuff to compete at this level, it’s beginning to become clear that she did and she always had.”

“She didn’t particularly enjoy athletics, and I remember saying to her, ‘Stick with the cross country skiing, put it on your college application and that’ll carry you through and you can quit afterwards,’” added family friend from the Mooney’s Vermont Academy days, Leita Hammill. “Turns out she got on the erg machine, and all of a sudden, rowing was the deal.”

One of the friends on hand was a childhood buddy Brooke met through skiing.

“I think Brooke is so incredibly remarkable,” added Maile Sapp, a Beekmantown, N.Y. native and former competitive Nordic skiier in her own right. “It’s been so special to share that friendship with her through the years.”

As the crowd cheered Brooke on, it was the continuation of a tradition of Olympic excellence in that section of Vermont.

“I think we all, and including our family, feel like that is our hometown land,” Tamra said of the area her children grew up in. “Bill Koch was an Olympian back in the 70s, Sophie Caldwell more recently in skiing. So we’ve had a lot of taste of that and we fell very much a part of that community even though we don’t live there we consider them family.”

Mooney and the Americans ran a great race, but in the end couldn’t quite keep up with Canada, New Zealand and China, finishing just off the podium in fourth place. The good news about COVID postponing the Olympics a year: Paris 2024 is only 3 years away.

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