Cynthia Woodhead

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Cynthia Woodhead
Cynthia Woodhead 1980.jpg
Cynthia Woodhead in 1980
Personal information
Full name Cynthia Lee Woodhead
Nickname(s) "Sippy"
Nationality  United States
Born (1964-02-07) February 7, 1964 (age 50)
Riverside, California
Height 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight 119 lb (54 kg)
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Freestyle
Club Mission Viejo Nadadores
College team University of Southern California

Cynthia Lee Woodhead (born February 7, 1964), commonly known by her family nickname "Sippy", is an American former competition swimmer, world champion, Olympic medalist, and former world record-holder. She won three gold medals at the 1978 world championships, when she was only fourteen years old.[1] She set seven world records during her career.[1]


Woodhead received gold medals in the 200 m freestyle, 4×100 m freestyle relay, and 4×100 m medley relay, and two silver medals at the 1978 World Aquatics Championships in Berlin, when she was only 14 years old.[1]

At the 1979 Pan American Games in San Juan she received five gold medals. She won the 100 m, 200 m and 400 m freestyle, as well as being part of the winning U.S. teams at the 4×100 m freestyle relay and 4×100 m medley relay.

Woodhead had qualified for six events at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and was regarded to be among the favorites in the four individual distances, as she was ranked world number one in 100 m, 200 m, 400 m and 800 m freestyle. Due to the American boycott of Moscow Olympics, she did not get the chance to participate. This was a great disappointment for her, and she has said that the boycott may have triggered her later health problems.[2]

In late 1981 and 1982 she suffered from several health problems—mononucleosis, a broken leg, and pneumonia.[1]

Woodhead competed at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where she received a silver medal in 200-meter freestyle.[3]

She improved the 50-meter freestyle world record (long course), April 10, 1980, but the record was further improved by Jill Sterkel the same day. She improved the 200-meter freestyle world record (long course), three times, in 1978 and 1979, her last result remained a world record until 1984. She was also a member of the U.S. team that held the 4×100 m freestyle relay world record from 1978 to 1980.


Woodhead was selected USOC Sports Woman of the Year 1979. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1994.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e CYNTHIA "SIPPY" WOODHEAD (USA) – 1994 Honor SwimmerInternational Swimming Hall of Fame (Retrieved on 10 September 2008)
  2. ^ Sharon Robb: Cynthia "Sippy" WoodheadUSA Swimming - Heroes of the Past (Retrieved on 11 September 2008)
  3. ^ 1984 Summer Olympics – Los Angeles, United States – Swimming" (Retrieved on 10 September 2008)

External links[edit]