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LILLIAN COPELAND

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Track & Field - 1990

One of America's first great female athletes, Lillian Copeland capped her extraordinary track and field career in 1932, winning a gold medal while setting a world record (133’2”) in the Discus event at the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Four years earlier, the University of Southern California Law School student set a world record at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games enroute to a silver medal in the Discus. Amsterdam was the first Olympics in which women’s track and field was on the competition menu.

As a USC undergrad, Copeland, who excelled at tennis and basketball, won every women’s track and field event she entered, seized the first of her nine United States National championships in 1925 with a victory in the 8-pound shotput. A year later, she established herself as one of the world’s premiere lady athletes, capturing U.S. titles in the shotput, discus and javelin. Her victories in the javelin and discus set new world records.

Between 1925 and 1932, Lillian set six world records in each of the shotput, javelin and discus events. In 1935, she was a member of the United States 2nd World Maccabiah Games team, and won gold medals in each of her speciality events.

Lillian was expected to defend her discus title at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. She refused the invitation and opted to boycott the Nazi Games. Lillian Copeland was inducted into the United States Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1994.

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