Jewish Women on the Map - Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
At this site on August 2, 1932, Lillian Copeland set new world and Olympic records in discus, with a throw of 133 feet, 1 5/8 inches, winning a gold medal. It was not the first time Copeland had set new records; as one of the earliest female athletes to excel in track and field events, she had established a name for herself at several earlier competitions.
By the 1928 U.S. Olympic trials, Copeland was a four-time national champion in the shot put. However, shot put was not yet an Olympic event, so she entered the trials in discus and set a new world record. She was also a member of the world-record-setting 400-meter-relay team at the trials. At the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, the first at which women were allowed to compete in track and field events, Copeland won a silver medal in discus.
Returning to college after the Olympics, Copeland earned a B.A. in political science in 1930, and then entered the U.S.C. Law School. In 1931, she won two more national championships, in shot put and in javelin. At the 1932 Olympics, where shot put was still not among the events, Copeland won her gold medal in discus. It was a crowning achievement for the woman who between 1925 and 1932 had set six world records each in shot put, discus, and javelin.
She was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 and the United States Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1994.
See also: Lillian Copeland in Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia; "Lillian Copeland wins Olympic gold" in This Week in History; "Not Just Fun and Games - Women, Jews, and the Olympics" in Jewesses With Attitude.