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Joan Samuelson (Benoit)

Photo of Joan Samuelson (Benoit)

Inducted: 2004, athlete

Born: May 16, 1957 - Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Events
10,000 m - 32:07.41
marathon - 2:21:21


The winner of the first Olympic women's marathon at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Joan Samuelson is synonymous with the increased popularity of long distance running in the United States. Samuelson won the Olympic Trials Marathon at age 26, just 17 days following agonizing knee surgery. Samuelson, who was ranked #1 in the world in the marathon on two occasions, is a former world and U.S. record holder in that event. She was the 1981 U.S. 10,000m champion and the 1984 U.S. women's marathon champion. Samuelson set the world and U.S. women's marathon record in 1984, and set the U.S. women's marathon record on four occasions. She was ranked #4 in the world at 10,000m in 1984, and she was world ranked five-times in the marathon (#1 two times). She is a pioneer of women's marathoning, who won the 1979 and 1983 Boston Marathons, the 1992 Columbus Marathon and the 1985 Chicago Marathon. In 1985, she was awarded the prestigious AAU Sullivan Award as the nation's finest amateur athlete…she is the mother of two daughters, Abby and Anders.

Records Held
World Record (road): marathon - 2:22:43
American Record (road): half-marathon - 1:08:34
American Record (road): 25 km - 1:24:43
American Record (road): marathon - 2:21:21

Championships
1984 Olympic Games: marathon - 2:24:52 (1st)
1981 USA Outdoor Championships: 10,000 m - 33:37.50 (1st)
1984 U.S. Olympic Trials: marathon - 2:31:04 (1st)
1983 Pan-Am Games: 3,000 m - 9:14.19 (1st)

Education
high school: Cape Elizabeth HS (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), 1975
undergraduate: Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine), 1979

Occupations
Author
Motivational speaker

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