Friday, September 7, 2012

40 Years Ago: Frank Shorter won the Olympic Marathon

It was 40 years ago (Sunday September 10, 1972) that Frank Shorter became the first American in 64 years to win a gold medal in the Olympic Marathon. In doing so he inspired a generation of runners like myself to take up the sport. I watched the race on our black and white television and exactly one year later in 1973 I was running cross-country as a ninth grader. In 1977 I ran my first marathon and I hope I haven't stopped. I recall watching the race, just days after the tragedy with the terrorists and some images still stand out along with the fact that the author of "Love Story" Erich Segal was commentating during the race. I remember how Frank took off to an early lead at about 8 miles and never relinquishing it through the twisty corners of the Munich course. I remember Frank's elegant stride and his mustache and the imposter who preceeding him running into the stadium for the final lap stealing some of Frank's glory. A couple years later, Frank Shorter showed up at the 1975 Falmouth Road Race, my hometown race, where his dual with Bill Rodgers started the road racing boom.


The imposter: Here is a video of Frank's final lap including video of the imposter.


Shorer 1st Moore 4th


More on the marathon fomr "1972 Olympic Games"

Here is a video of parts of the Olympic Marathon (no sound).

Here is a recent video on of Frank Shorter reflecting on his marathon victory.

Recent Runner's World article by fourth place finisher Kenny Moore on the Olympic tragedy and marathon in 1972. Kenny Moore is one of the most eloquent writers on the sport of running.Here is an accompanying video of Kenny and Frank talking about the 1972 games.

Here are some photos from the 1990s of Frank Shorter at Nashua's Fitness University inspiring young children to run and be fit and passing on the running bug to my own kids who are now both in college.

After a run at Brookdale Farms in Hollis, NH.

I was so impressed with the 1972 Munich Olympics with Dave Wottle, Steve Prefontaine
Mark Spitz, and Frank Shorter that in 1979 when touring through Europe over the summer, I had
to visit the Olympic Stadium. Here are my three traveling companions Rob, Rob, and Larry all from
Wisconsin and fellow students at Wheaton College.
It is good to see Frank still running. Here he is running, although hobbled from back surgery, at this years Falmouth Road Race.

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