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Olympian Brett Newlin is a class act

Aug 31, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Brett Newlin was the perfect athlete to represent Riverton in the last two summer Olympic Games.

The two-time Olympian has been all over the world the last eight years making a name for himself and chasing a dream of a medal.

Newlin rowed in the four-man boat eight years ago in Beijing. Last month in London he was in the eight-man boat.

"I think that it's great when they ask about Riverton," Newlin said. "It's kind of like a collector item to be from a place where they really haven't heard of that much. It's fun to tell people that I'm from Wyoming and from the least-populated state in the United States. I'm super proud of that."

Brett was in town Wednesday night when his younger sister, Kristen Newlin, had her No. 43 Riverton High School basketball jersey retired at Wolverine Field.

"As a big brother, you try to set a good example and excel in a few good things here and there," Brett said. "She picked up that right away. She has been keeping me on my toes. It's fun to compare notes when you are at a high level in your sports."

Make no mistake, Brett was one of the top rowers the U.S. had the last few years.

He has put countless hours into training for a medal. His life was focused around rowing, rowing and more rowing.

He started college at Michigan State, then moved to the University of Washington to continue his rowing career.

"I'm going to have lifelong friends from rowing," Newlin said. "Rowing has given me so many blessings in travel and friendships."

Newlin and his eight-man boat made a great run in London.

His boat was right in the mix for a medal before the competition had started. He knew it was going to be close to get on the podium.

When I talked to Brett before the Olympics started, he told me Germany was the favorite to win the gold medal.

Germany did win the gold, and Newlin's boat finished .03 seconds away from the bronze medal.

"I don't know if I will ever get over it," said Newlin about his fourth-place finish. "It was a solid race. We came and pushed back pretty hard. We came heartbreakingly close."

I appreciated Brett finding time to e-mail after his finish. He showed class and respect for the hometown media even after a tough finish.

"I'm proud of my career," Newlin said. "I'm looking back, and I had a very long and successful career as a rower."

Newlin said the race in London was probably the last one of his career.

"Right now, I'm saying that I'm retired," Newlin said. "It would be a low possibility if I come back because it wouldn't be worth it if I couldn't put 100 percent both physically and mentally into it. "

When Newlin was in London he talked to United States swimming superstars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

"It's really cool being on the same team as those guys," Newlin said.

"There is mutual respect of everybody because of hard work you have put in for four years."

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