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Mary Decker Biography

Little Mary, Olympic Struggles, Repairing The Damage, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Decker's LegacyCONTACT INFORMATION


American track and field athlete

Mary Decker is remembered by many for what she did not do, rather than what she did. Although Decker, who started her impressive career as a pre-teen, is one of the world's fastest middle-distance runners ever, bad circumstances interfered in Decker's attempts to win an Olympic gold medal. Throughout her long running career, Decker pushed her body past its breaking point, courting the spotlight and injuries with her intensity and drive. Unfortunately, this determination and relentless commitment to her sport led to related injuries that kept her out of the 1976 Olympics. In 1980, when it looked like she would get a second chance, the American government—caught up in Cold War politics—boycotted the Olympic games, which were held in Moscow. In 1984, Decker made it to the Games, and was in good shape to win the 3,000-meter event, when she was tripped by another runner and knocked out of the race. In 1988 and 1996, Decker qualified for the Olympics again, but failed to medal each time.


Address: Mary Decker-Slaney, 2923 Flintlock St., Eugene, OR 97401-4660.

Sketch by Ryan D. Poquette

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Famous Sports StarsTrack and Field