Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
Date Started: August 5, 1984
Date Finished: August 5, 1984
Format: 42,195 metres (26 miles, 385 yards) point-to-point.
Women had been known to run marathons since at least the 1920s, but it was not until the 1960s that this was well-known when several woman, among them Katherine Switzer and Roberta Gibb, broke into the all-male Boston Marathon. By 1973, the West Germans had established the first all-female marathons, and the pioneer administrator who supported women in the marathon was the German Dr. Ernst van Aaken. In 1983 a women’s marathon was included at the first Athletics World Championships in Helsinki, won by Grete Waitz of Norway. Waitz, a former track runner, was the first great female marathoner, winning the New York Marathon from 1979-83, and she would eventually win New York nine times. She was the early favorite for Los Angeles. Also to be watched were Portugal’s Rosa Mota, who had won the 1983 European Championship, and America’s Joan Benoit, who won the 1979 and 1983 Boston Marathon. Her 1983 Boston win was in a world marathon best time of 2-22:43. But Benoit was not fully healthy, having required arthroscopic surgery on her knee only a few weeks before the US Olympic Trial, and she was considered fortunate to make the team.
The women’s marathon was the first track & field event of the 1984 Olympics, starting at 8 AM. It started at the Santa Monica City College track and ran along LA freeways to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Benoit moved into the lead at 7 km., and Waitz led her get away, saying later that she thought the move was made too early. But Benoit never came back. She stayed in the lead throughout, running by herself for most of the race, winning by almost 1½ minutes, with Waitz winning the silver medal and Mota the bronze.
|1||Joan Benoit||27||United States||USA||Gold||2-24:52||OR|
|5||Lorraine Moller||29||New Zealand||NZL||2-28:34|
|6||Priscilla Welch||39||Great Britain||GBR||2-28:54|
|11||Joyce Smith||46||Great Britain||GBR||2-32:48|
|14||Sarah Rowell||21||Great Britain||GBR||2-34:08|
|16||Charlotte Teske||34||West Germany||FRG||2-35:56|
|17||Anna Marie Malone||24||Canada||CAN||2-36:33|
|21||Ria Van Landeghem||26||Belgium||BEL||2-37:11|
|27||Mary O'Connor||29||New Zealand||NZL||2-41.22|
|31||Ng Winnie||31||Hong Kong||HKG||2-42:38|
|33||Naydi Nazario||27||Puerto Rico||PUR||2-45:49|
|34||Yuko Gordon||33||Hong Kong||HKG||2-46:12|
|36||Julie Brown||29||United States||USA||2-47:33|
|41||María Luisa Ronquillo||27||Mexico||MEX||2-51:04|
|44||Eleonora de Mendonça||35||Brazil||BRA||2-52:19|
|AC||Julie Isphording||22||United States||USA||DNF|
|AC||Anne Garrett-Audain||28||New Zealand||NZL||DNF|