Samuelson, Joan Benoit
Joan Benoit Samuelson (born: May 16, 1957) is an American marathon runner who won gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the year that the women's marathon was introduced. American, Athlete Trading Card Signed, n.d. 2 3/4 x 4 color card signed, with additional yellow postit with note and signature. Overall, very fine condition.
As a result, she was the first-ever women's Olympic marathon champion. Benoit Samuelson still holds the fastest times for an American woman at the Chicago Marathon and the Olympic Marathon. Her time at the Boston Marathon was the fastest time by an American woman at that race for 28 years.
Born in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, of French and Irish ancestry, Benoit took to long-distance running to help recover from a broken leg suffered while slaloming.
At Bowdoin College she excelled in athletics. In 1977, after two years at Bowdoin, she accepted a running scholarship to North Carolina State, where she began concentrating solely on her running. She earned All-America honors at NC State in both 1977 and 1978, and in 1978 helped lead the Wolfpack to the Atlantic Coast Conference cross-country championship.
In March 1984, Benoit injured her knee severely during a 20-mile training run, forcing her to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery just 17 days before the United States Olympic Women's Marathon Trials were scheduled. However, she recovered from the surgery much quicker than expected, and showed up at the trials as the woman to beat. She beat runner-up Julie Brown by 30 seconds, winning in 2:31:04. Three months later, she competed in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and won the first Olympic Women’s Marathon in 2:24:52, several hundred meters ahead of Grete Waitz, Rosa Mota, and Ingrid Kristiansen, all considered legends in their own rights.
Since her retirement from competitive running, she has written books including Running Tide and Running for Women, and has opened a running clinic. She is also a coach to women’s cross-country and long-distance athletes, and is a motivational speaker and sports commentator.
Benoit resides in Freeport, Maine. She is featured on the Nike+ iPod system as one of the congratulatory voices, along with others including Lance Armstrong. Benoit and husband Scott Samuelson have two children, daughter Abby and son Anders.