Frank Shorter is the only American distance runner to have two Olympic medals in the marathon. A competitor in both track and road racing, he excelled at the highest levels of the sport.
Striving for Excellence
Born in 1947, Shorter attended Yale University, where he was the NCAA 10,000-meter champion during his senior year. After graduation, he chose to both pursue a law degree at the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville and to train with their track program. He won the U.S. cross-country championships four times (1970-1973), was the 10,000-meter national champion in 1970, 1971, 1974, 1975, and 1977, and won the 1971 Pan American Games 10,000 meters.
Shorter placed second in his first marathon, the 1971 AAU Championship. Later that year he won the Pan American Games Marathon, and then went on to notch the first of four victories at the Fukuoka Marathon. He ran his career best time of 2:10:30 at Fukuoka in 1972.
In 1972, Shorter won the Olympic Marathon in Munich by making a move after 11 miles and running out of sight of the pack on the course’s winding roads. He was the first American Olympic marathon gold medalist since 1908. He won the 1976 Montreal Olympic silver medal behind Waldemar Cierpinski of East Germany, who was later implicated in the country’s state-sponsored doping scandal. Shorter’s Olympic achievements were a huge contributor to the running boom of the 1970s.
Life after Competition
In retirement, Shorter has served as a commentator for numerous track and field and road racing events and gives motivational speeches around the country. A voice against the use of performance-enhancing drugs, he helped to establish the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and served as its chairman from 2001 to 2003. Shorter co-founded the Bolder Boulder, one of the largest road races in the country, in 1979.
|1972||U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon||2:15:58|
|1972||Munich Olympic Games||2:12:19|
|1976||U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon||2:11:51|
|1976||Montreal Olympic Games||2:10:45|
|1976||New York City Marathon||2:13:12|
|1978||New York City Marathon||2:19:32|
|1979||New York City Marathon||2:16:15|