Olympic Moments: Benita Fitzgerald Mosley

Where does life take you after you’ve experienced Olympic glory? These past Olympians look back—and ahead.

By: Mary Yarrison

In 1984 Mosley earned gold in the 100-meter hurdles at the Games in Los Angeles. Photograph courtesy of Mosley.

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley
Track and field
Olympian in 1980 and 1984
Gold medal, 100-meter hurdles, 1984

As this summer’s Olympic games approach, it’s Benita Fitzgerald Mosley’s job to make sure the US track-and-field team “delivers more medals than ever before.”

The governing body of the sport in which she earned gold hired her three years ago as chief of sport performance to figure out how America’s runners, throwers, hurdlers, and jumpers could be made better.

“Our expertise in sports science and medicine is an advantage we needed to exploit more,” she says, “and now we are.” Her initiative calls for sports scientists, doctors, and coaches to work with athletes to analyze and streamline their techniques. Last summer, the US track-and-field team had its second-most successful World Championships ever.

An engineer by training, Mosley earned her degree, along with a handful of NCAA track titles, at the University of Tennessee the same year she won gold in Los Angeles. After barely missing the ’88 team, she hung up her spikes.

Her parents—retired educators in Prince William County’s Dale City—spent Mosley’s childhood preparing her for a successful adult life independent of athletics. Her mother and father insisted she study math and science.

Now she’s found a way to combine her passions. She, her husband, and their two children will be in London this month nervously watching the fruits of her labor. Of the stress, she says, “I don’t know how coaches do it.”

Read more Olympic Moments.