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Olympics – 1984 – L A Games – Womens Marathon – USA Joan Benoit + NOR Grete Waitz – 1st 5 Miles


The 1st ever Olympic women’s marathon was run at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games…. which made this a historic event… for this event is a serious contender for the title of the best women’s marathon ever….much like the race and outcome of the men’s marathon to be run later in this games. for this women’s marathon featured a strong field….great performances….and plenty of drama…..just as a point of interest….it was the first time the women’s 3,000m also made its first Olympic….cuz up to that point….the 1,500m was considered the upper limit of lady like Olympic competition.  It was unfortunate, then, that these two events provided the most controversial images of the entire Games….for the Decker-Budd clash in the shorter event….along with a dramatic finish by SWE Gabriella Anderse-Schiess in the marathon….makes this history race worth watching from start to finish.  

As was fitting for such a notable occasion…this 1st Olympic women’s marathon featured the best long-distance runners of the time…including Grete Waitz of Norway…who had won the event at the inaugural World Championships in Helsinki the previous year….along with her compatriot Ingrid Kristiansen had won the Houston and London marathons in 1984….for both these Norwegian athletes were not only world class world champions….and long distance running legends….as they dominated the world during the 1980’s.  Completing the quartet of the best at the time in this Olympic race were world record holder Joan Benoit of the United States and European champion Rosa Mota of Portugal…..as these four “top shelf”  athletes competed fiercely for three medals….so, which one would miss out?  

Another record-breaking competitor was Joyce Smith of Britain…who at age 46….while being the two-time former winner of both the Tokyo and London marathons….would be the oldest woman ever to run at the Olympics….and her teammate Priscilla Welch was 39….while the 3rd Brit in the race, Sarah Rowell….was at 21 young enough to be the daughter of either of her compatriots.   Meanwhile, Irish athletics fans had reason to be optimistic about the race….Regina Joyce and Carey May had finished 7th and 13th respectively in the World Championships the year before. 

There were a lot of expectations at the start of this race….and suffice to say….sitting in the stands at the Los Angeles Coliseum were “Los Tres Amigo de Tejas”….Bone Daddy, Sky Pilot and Prince of Pleasure…. who by the time this historic women’s marathon ended….the original Sportsphile and his crew were inspired to set an Olympic fan record that can NEVER be broken….only tied…..as Los Tres Amigos de Tejas would leave the stadium that night…..and embark on a mission of Olympic proportions.

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