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Joan Benoit - U.S.A. - 1984 women's Olympic marathon champion.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 05 August 1984

Click on image to enlarge

      Thursday, 16 May 1957
      Cape Elizabeth, Maine, U.S.A.
  • U.S.A.
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Joan BENOIT - U.S.A. - 1984 women's Olympic marathon champion.

Joan Benoit is pictured above crossing the finish line to win the first ever Olympic  marathon

for women.


In March 1984, Benoit injured her knee severely during a 20-mile training run, forcing her to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery just 17 days before the United States Olympic Women's Marathon Trials were scheduled. However, she recovered from the surgery much more quickly than expected, and showed up at the trials as the woman to beat. She beat runner-up Julie Brown by 30 seconds, winning in 2:31:04. Three months later, she competed in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and won the first Olympic Women's Marathon in 2:24:52, several hundred meters ahead of Grete Waitz, Rosa Mota, and Ingrid Kristiansen, all considered legends in their own rights.


Benoit enjoyed success at non-marathon distances as well, winning the prestigious Falmouth Road Race (7.1 miles) a total of six times (1976, 1978, 1981–1983, and 1985), breaking the course record on four of those occasions. Although she won the 1985 Chicago marathon, defeating Kristiansen and Mota in an American Record time of 2:21:21 (that would last as the AR for 18 years until broken by Deena Kastor in 2003 in London), Benoit was hampered in the years after her Olympic victory by injuries and struggled to compete in major races. She received the 1985 James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.   Wikipedia



Women's Marathon.

Olympic Games 1984

1. Joan BENOIT   USA   2: 24: 52
2. Grete WAITZ   NOR   2: 26: 18
3. Rosa MOTA   POR   2: 26: 57
4. Ingrid KRISTIANSEN   NOR   2: 27: 34
5. Lorraine MOLLER   NZL   2: 28: 34
6. Priscilla WELCH   GBR   2: 28: 54
7. Lisa MARTIN   AUS   2: 29: 03
8. Sylvie RUEGGER   CAN   2: 29: 09




Joan Benoit enters the Stadium wearing her cap.     Photo George Herringshaw.  ©