Coaching Athletics Quarterly
Wednesday, 15 April 2020 14:47

Larrieu Smith’s 10,000m record earns her USATF Throwback Athlete of the Week honors

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Francie Larrieu Smith (Georgetown, Texas) set an American record in the women’s 10,000m on April 4, 1991, and was a convincing winner of the second USATF Throwback Athlete of the Week award. In the absence of competition during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are taking a weekly look back at some of the great efforts by American track and field athletes through the years.

Larrieu Smith, a USATF Hall of Fame inductee in 1998, clocked 31:28.92 at the Texas Relays in Austin to chop almost seven seconds off the previous record of 31:35.3 set by Mary Decker-Tabb in 1982. The top-ranked marathoner in the U.S. that year, the then-38-year-old Larrieu Smith ran her first track 10K in more than two years and was dominant on the Memorial Stadium oval in Austin, winning by more than two-and-a-half minutes. A four-time Olympian, she went on to take 12th in the marathon at Barcelona in 1992. In 1988 at Seoul she was fifth in the 10,000m, and she represented the U.S. in the 1,500m at Munich and Montreal.
Other historical performances of note from the March 30-April 5 period in USATF history:

  • March 30 — Dennis Lewis equaled the American record in the high jump, 2.34m/7-8 at Long Beach in 1985
  • March 31 — John Uelses set the pole vault world record, 4.89m/16-0.75 at Santa Barbara in 1962
  • April 1 — Lynda Lipson-Blutreich broke the American record in the Javelin (post-1999 implement), 57.42m/188-4 at Raleigh Relays in 2000
  • April 2 — Bill Neider set the world record in the shot put, 19.99m/65-7 at Texas Relays in 1960
  • April 3 — Bud Houser threw a world record in the discus, 48.20m/158-1 at Stanford in 1926
  • April 5 — Lorna Griffin threw an American in discus, 58.54m/192-1 at Tempe, Arizona in 1980

Now in its 19th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on USATF.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
2020 Winners: January 9, Miranda Melville; January 16, Paul Perry; January 23, Natosha Rogers; January 30, Tyler Day, February 6, Devin Dixon; February 13, Elle Purrier; February 20, Tori Franklin; February 27, Sandi Morris; March 4, Abdi Abdirahman; March 12 Marielle Hall; March 19, Tim Tollefson; April 2, Louise Ritter; April 9, Francie Larrieu Smith.
We welcome your nominations!
To nominate an athlete for USATF Athlete of the Week, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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