Saturday, July 28, 2012

The 49ers, #103: Benita Fitzgerald Mosley

In early 2010, Rob Trucks began a series of conversations with 49-year-old Americans. For eighteen months, until the eve of his own 50th birthday, Trucks interviewed over 200 men and women. This is one of those interviews:

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley won three consecutive NCAA outdoor championships in the women’s 100 meter hurdles while at the University of Tennessee, where she graduated with an Industrial Engineering degree in 1984. That summer she became just the second American woman to win Olympic gold in the event. She has worked in as an engineer, with Special Olympics, in cable television and currently serves as the Chief of Sport Performance for USA Track & Field. She has seen The Sound of Music several times. We spoke on February 16, 2011, before she celebrated her 50th birthday that July.

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I’ve been claiming 50 all year. And I say that by telling people I’m turning 50. I’ve been telling audiences that when I speak, to not let it be a secret and just let it out. Because it blows my mind. And so probably all of 49 I’ve been thinking about it.

I’ve known it from the time I turned 49, that this is my last year of my 40s. And I’ve been looking at other women that are in their 50s and kind of gauging do they act differently? Dress differently? Is it time to cut my hair? You know, all those things to try to prepare myself. Should I wear this? Should I act like this? You know, should I not tell people? Tell people? And I thought, Well, I’m more in the public than most 50-year-olds, and it’s kind of hard to, you know, keep it a secret. So I just decided to embrace it and claim it.

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