News & Politics

Olympic Moments: Benita Fitzgerald Mosley

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

Photograph by Christopher Leaman.
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

“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

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.