Hall of Fame

Mary T. Meagher

Swimming

Olympian in Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, Seoul 1988 Olympic Games

Born:
October 27, 1964
Birthplace:
Louisville, Kentucky
College:
University of California, Berkeley

hall of fame

Mary T. Meagher

Swimming

Olympian in Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, Seoul 1988 Olympic Games

Born:
October 27, 1964
Birthplace:
Louisville, Kentucky
College:
University of California, Berkeley
Photo courtesy International Olympic Committee
Mary T. Meagher set her first world record before she began high school and Madame Butterfly, as she was known, won three gold medals at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.
SHARE

Mary T. Meagher was not yet in ninth grade when, as a 14-year-old, she set her first world record. Madame Butterfly, as she soon became known because of her prowess swimming that stroke, truly was special.

While she missed an opportunity to win more gold medals because of the American boycott of the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games, Meagher left no doubt that she was one of the best swimmers of all time. Her performance in the 1981 U.S. National Championships remains one for the ages. Meagher set world records in both the 100- and 200-meter butterfly races – times that stood as the world’s best for nearly 20 years each.

All told, Meagher won 24 national titles.

At the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, Meagher again dominated the butterfly competition, winning both the 100- and 200-meter races and swimming the butterfly leg as she earned a third gold medal in the 4×100-meter medley relay.

At the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, Meagher took the bronze in the 200-meter butterfly.

Meagher, however, has never been one to play up her accomplishments.

“I’ll bet that I’ve told more people that Mary T. is my sister than she’s told people she swims,” her sister Anne said in an interview during Mary T.’s swimming career.

Two of my Olympic gold medals are in a linen closet. I wanted to move on in my life and ‘protect’ my kids from pressure to be successful athletically, so there’s not much on display in my home that celebrates my swimming career,” Meagher said in an interview a few years ago. “The third Olympic gold medal is with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. I’m not sure it’s being displayed currently, but they asked for it years ago.”



MEDAL RESULTS
1984Los Angeles100m ButterflyGold
1984Los Angeles200m ButterflyGold
1984Los Angeles4x100m Medley RelayGold
1988Seoul200m ButterflyBronze
RELATED GALLERY
  • Sint excepteur
connect with us
NEXT UP
  • SPORT: 
  • Swimming
  • BORN: 06.29.1985
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
Swimmer Erin Popovich is a three-time Paralympian; 14 of her 19 Paralympic medals were golds. She is a two-time winner of the ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.
  • SPORT: 
  • Volleyball
  • BORN: 07.30.1977
  • Los Angeles, California
Misty May-Treanor was a college star at indoor volleyball, then successfully transitioned to one of the best beach volleyball careers of all-time, teaming with Kerri Walsh Jennings to win three Olympic gold medals and retiring with a then-record 112 wins.
  • SPORT: 
  • Track and Field
  • BORN: 06.06.1944
  • Clarksville, Texas
Tommie Smith's courage to protest for racial equality continues to be remembered throughout the sports landscape.
  • SPORT: 
  • Track and Field
  • BORN: 06.05.1945
  • Harlem, New York
John Carlos and Tommie Smith's protest for racial equality has echoed throughout the sports world since the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games.
Skip to content