First woman to row across the Atlantic solo discusses trip, relationship with Muhammad Ali 20 years later

First woman to row across the Atlantic solo discusses trip, relationship with Muhammad Ali 20 years later
Tori Murden McClure sits on her rowboat The American Pearl, the same vessel she made a solo trip across the Atlantic Ocean in 20 years ago. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Tori Murden McClure, a woman who made history on the Atlantic Ocean, is talking about her astonishing feat 20 years after the fact.

Though she is now the president of Spalding University, McClure’s claim to fame arose after she became the first woman and first American to row a boat unassisted across the Atlantic.

She spoke today next to her 23-foot rowboat The American Pearl about her 81 days spent at sea and the more than 3,000 miles she rowed alone.

McClure’s claim to fame arose after she became the first woman and first American to row a boat unassisted across the Atlantic Ocean.
McClure’s claim to fame arose after she became the first woman and first American to row a boat unassisted across the Atlantic Ocean.

McClure also discussed working for the Muhammad Ali Center at the time of her famous trip. She credits Ali for encouraging her to give the solo row another shot after her first attempt ended unsuccessfully.

“It was like every couple of weeks he would come by and pop me in the shoulder,” McClure said. “And it was like he was saying, ‘Kid you've got to get up,’ and then he said, ‘You don’t want to go through life as the woman who almost rowed across the ocean.’”

McClure’s adventures didn’t end on the ocean. She was also the first American and first woman to ski to the South Pole. McClure accomplished that feat in 1989 with an expedition group.

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