News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Olympian Frank Shorter On Living A Gold Medal Life


The Rio Olympics will culminate with one of its signature events, the marathon. Frank Shorter is the last American man to have won a gold medal in the sport at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

On Think, Krys Boyd talked with him about his new memoir “My Marathon: Reflections on a Gold Medal Life.”

The KERA Interview

Frank Shorter on

…  winning in 1972 in Munich - and the crowd's reaction to the imposter who almost stole his victory:  

“I was outside the stadium and I heard this cheer. I was ready to go into the tunnel and I was thinking, ‘Oh boy, I may actually win this.’ I learned in high school that it’s not over until you cross the finish line, but I said, ‘OK, I’m going to hit the track there and there’s going to be a cheer' … I went down the tunnel out onto the track and it was silent. All I could think was, ‘Geez I’m an American, but give me a break.’

… the growth of running as a mainstream sport:

“Before 1976 there were very few of the road races you have today. Now in any metropolitan area you can probably find, three or four 5ks and one or two 10k races … At one point when I was growing up, I’d be running in the summertime in a park in my little town in Upstate New York and I was the only person out there .”

 … the role Dallas played in America’s running history:

“Another seed of change is the location of Ken Cooper’s Aerobics Institute in Dallas. In the late ‘6os and early ‘70s Dr. Cooper was really one of the first people to start doing and practicing what people now call exercise physiology. Two of the first great marathoners in the U.S., one of whom made the Olympic team in the marathon, Jeff Wells and John Lodwick, were seminary students there in the ‘70s and all part of that running community, which developed in Dallas.”   

… doping in sports:    

“The athletes know [who's doping] and I think you can gather this from the talk at the Olympics right now. I’ve talked to swimmers who have lost to East Germans. They can tell. You can tell the way the other person is getting tired. You can watch them. Elite athlete know what it looks like to be getting tired. And they also know what it looks like when you’re doping and not getting tired.”