Karen Moe-Thornton

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameKaren Patricia•Moe-Thornton (-Humphreys)
Used nameKaren•Moe-Thornton
Born22 January 1953 in Del Monte (PHI)
Measurements165 cm / 56 kg
AffiliationsCalifornia Golden Bears, Berkeley (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


Born in the Philippines but educated at Santa Clara High School and UCLA, Karen Moe set her fourth and final 200m butterfly world record in winning the Olympic title in München. She also competed in the 100m backstroke at the 1972 Olympics, finishing fourth. After marrying Mike Thornton, she made a comeback in 1976 and again made the Olympic team, finishing fourth in the 200m butterfly at Montréal, but with a new American record. Mrs. Thornton served as head coach of the women’s swim team at Cal/Berkeley after her retirement from competition. After stepping down as coach she worked in sports administration at Cal for several years.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1972 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) USA Karen Moe
100 metres Backstroke, Women (Olympic) 4
200 metres Butterfly, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
1976 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) USA Karen Moe-Thornton
200 metres Butterfly, Women (Olympic) 4

Special Notes