Full Name: Joan Benoit Samuelson
Date of Birth: 6 th May, 1957
Country: The United States of America
Sport involved in: Athletics
Winner of Boston Marathons in 1979 and 1983
Olympic Women's Marathon Champion in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics
Awarded the Sullivan Award in 1985
Winner of Columbus Marathons in 1992
Holder of the American records for the marathon and the half marathon
Holder of the record for the Chicago Marathon
Holder of the U.S. record for the second fastest time ever by a woman
Career: Joan Benoit was the winner of the first Olympic women's marathon in 1984. Benoit started running to recover from a broken leg, which was injured while skiing. She excelled in athletics during her days in Bowdoin College. Benoit participated in the 1979 Boston Marathon. She won the race, setting a new record by finishing in 2:35 seconds. In the 1983 Boston Marathon, Benoit repeated her victory by making another record in the history of marathon. She finished the race in 2:22:43 seconds. At the 1984 Summer Olympics, Benoit won the first ever women's Olympic marathon title with a timing of 2:24.52 seconds. After the 1984 Olympics, Benoit started struggling in the major races because of her injuries. However, she won the Chicago Marathon in 1985. Benoit was also chosen for the James E. Sullivan Award in 1985. After retirement from competitive running, Benoit has written books including Running Tide and Running for Women and has opened a running clinic. Apart from these, Benoit coaches to women's cross-country and long-distance athletes. She is also a sports commentator and a motivational speaker. Joan Benoit has founded the Beach to Beacon Road Race, which is held every year at Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The 10 kilometer long race is run by many top distance runners. Benoit herself has won the race for several times. The last time Benoit ran the race was in 2005.
Performance at the Olympics:
Joan Benoit participated in first Olympic women's marathon competition at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games. At the Games, Benoit was the top contender for gold medal along with Grete Waitz of Norway. Grete Waitz was the winner of all the seven marathons she had competed in. she had also beaten Benoit ten of the eleven times they had competed together. This time, Benoit took the lead at the beginning of the race. She beat Waitz with a timing of 2:24.52 seconds. After her victory in the 1984 Olympics, Benoit's career was greatly hampered by her injuries. She tried to gain a spot in the US Olympic team in 1996. This time she finished the race in 2:36.54 seconds, with the thirteenth place. Benoit's quest for running in the Olympics came to an end.