Local panel revisits '84 Olympic women’s marathon trials on May 5

mwochnick@theolympian.comApril 30, 2014 

Joan Benoit Samuelson wins the U.S. Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials held in Olympia in 1984.

STEVE BLOOM/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER FILE, 1984

The first U.S. Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials in 1984 was the biggest sporting event to come to the South Sound, and in honor of its 30th anniversary, the State Capital Museum will hold a panel discussion at noon on Monday. It’s open to the public; admission is free or by a suggested $2 donation.

Attendees can hear firsthand about the event held in Olympia on May 12, 1984, and won by Joan Benoit Samuelson, who also went on to win the marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. The trials drew 238 runners and an estimated 50,000 spectators.

The panel will include: Gerry Alexander, who was president of the Capital City Marathon Association in 1983; Joan Cullen, who served on the trials’ board of directors; Denise Keegan, founder and chair of the Olympic Trials Legacy Committee; and Dave Kent, who was on the trials’ course committee.

“The trials were a turning point in recognizing women’s strength as athletes and in opening up opportunities for women to compete,” said Shanna Stevenson, coordinator of the Women’s History Consortium. “It also showed that Olympia could showcase a high-profile event on a national stage.”

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 mwochnick@theolympian.com @megwochnick

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