Stark Truth: Kitsap Olympic Trivia and More

OK, here’s a question for all of you Olympic Ringheads out there?

Has Kitsap County produced any other Olympians besides Bremerton’s Kirk sisters – Tara and Dana – and 2008 Olympic swimmers Emily Silver (Bainbridge) and Nathan Adrian (Bremerton)?

The answer is yes. Can you name the two other Olympians? At least, I think there’s only two.

Ding, ding ding. Time’s up.

If you said Scott Shipley, you’re right. Poulsbo’s Shipley is perhaps the best-known American whitewater kayaker of all time.  Shipley competed in three Olympics games (1992, ’96, ’00) and won four world titles, breaking the dominance European paddlers had on the sport. He’s now designing whitewater parks.

And the other Olympian? Hint: He competed in Atlanta in 1996.

Give up?

Brad Barquist. He ran the 10,000 meters at the 1996 games. Now living in Seattle and retired from international racing, Barquist is coaching runners.

Barquist, incidentally, was among the first to call Emily Silver after she qualified for the Olympics in Omaha. Emily and sister Helen, who lived around the corner from the Barquist family at the time, decorated his house after he qualified for the games. .”

“He said, ‘I’ll decorate your house or If there’s a parade I’ll carry the flag,'” said Emily’s mom, Mary Sue Silver. “He told her, ‘I know exactly how you feel.'”

Barquist’s parents, Shirley and Norman, still live on the island. They ran into Mary Sue at the market. “They’re so proud of Emily. They know how excited we were when Brad qualified, so that was pretty cool.”

If Helen Silver, Emily’s older sister, had opted to continue swimming following her graduation from Cal in 2006, we might be looking at more trivia. The Kirks were the first sisters to be on the same Olympic team in 2004 in Athens, and many think Helen would have had a good shot at making the ’08 team. Helen won the 200 backstroke at the NCAA Championships in 2006 and her best times that year would have put her in the finals this year.

USA swim coach Mark Schubert called Helen after she retired and told her, “We think you can win a gold medal.” That got Helen out of retirement for a while, but after getting up one morning at 5 a.m. for a workout, “she looked in the mirror and said she wasn’t doing this for the right reasons,” said her mom, Mary Sue. “My parents want me to swim, Mark Schubert wants me to swim, (Cal coach) Teri McKeever wants me to swim. I want to get on with my life.”

Helen, who has a degree in Art Practice from Cal, works at Tucker & Marks, an interior design firm in downtown San Francisco.

 

 

One thought on “Stark Truth: Kitsap Olympic Trivia and More

  1. How about Chris Welp? I know he’s not originally from Kitsap County, but he played for West Germany in the 1984 Games in L.A. In a way, that would make him the first Olympic High graduate who went to the Olympics.

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