Melissa Belote

Melissa Belote
Belote c. 1972
Personal information
Full nameMelissa Louise Belote
National teamUnited States
Born (1956-10-16) October 16, 1956 (age 66)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Height5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight132 lb (60 kg)
ClubSolotar Swim Club; Springfield Swim and Racquet Club
College teamArizona State University

Melissa Louise Belote (born October 16, 1956), also known by her current married name Melissa Belote Ripley, is an American former competition swimmer, three-time Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in two events. She represented the United States at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics.[1]


Belote was born in Washington, D.C. She grew up in Springfield, Virginia, was a member of the Springfield Swim and Racquet Club, and attended Robert E. Lee High School in Fairfax County, Virginia.[2]

At 15 years old, she won three gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. In the women's 100-meter backstroke, Belote defeated her American teammate and world-record holder Susie Atwood. In the women's 200-meter backstroke, Belote set a new world record of 2:19.19. She won a third gold medal by swimming the lead-off backstroke leg for the winning U.S. team in the women's 4×100-meter medley relay. She and her teammates Cathy Carr (breaststroke), Deena Deardurff (butterfly), and Sandy Neilson (freestyle) set a new world record of 4:20.75 in the relay final.[1]

She attended Arizona State University, where she swam for the Arizona State Sun Devils swimming and diving team in Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) competition. She received the Honda Sports Award for Swimming and Diving, recognizing her as the outstanding college female swimmer of the year in 1976–77.[3][4]

She retired from the sport in 1979, and was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1983.[5] She was also inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.[6]

She currently coaches swimming and diving at McClintock High School in Tempe, Arizona, and also coaches the Rio Salado Swim Team.

See also


  1. ^ a b Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Melissa Belote". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 17, 2020.
  2. ^ Clay Shampoe, The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, Acadia Publishing, Chicago, Illinois, p. 99 (2005). ISBN 978-0-7385-1776-6.
  3. ^ Collegiate Women Sports Awards, Past Honda Sports Award Winners for Swimming & Diving. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  4. ^ "Melissa Belote Ripley To Be Inducted Into Pac-12 Hall Of Honor". Arizona State University Athletics. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  5. ^ "Melissa Belote (USA)". International Swimming Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 24, 2021. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  6. ^ Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, Inductees, Melissa Ripley Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 16, 2014.

External links

Media related to Melissa Belote at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by Women's 200-meter backstroke
world record-holder (long course)

August 5, 1972 – July 7, 1974
Succeeded by