Olympia: The Marathon

May 1, 2015

My Fellow Athletes,

Can we agree on one thing?  Frank Shorter started it all.

In 1972 at the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, Frank Shorter became the first American man to win the Gold Medal in the Olympic Marathon.  (The Marathon by definition is 40.2 kilometers or 26.2 miles.)

In 1984, Joan Benoit added her name to Olympic Legend when she became the first American woman to win the Gold Medal in the Olympic Marathon.  Actually she was the first woman ever to win Gold since the female Marathon event was first added to the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles that very year.  (Joan had already won the Boston Marathon in both 1979 and 1983.)

After Frank’s championship and surely after Joan’s extraordinary Olympic accomplishment, we Americans decided to emulate our two new heroes.  We donned our sweat suits and our Nike Waffle Trainers and Adidas County Striders, dutifully performed our stretching exercises, and headed out the door for our training run.