Jewish Women in the Olympics - Lillian Copeland

Copeland was an Olympic champion in the discus throw. She was born in New York to Minnie Drasnin, a Polish immigrant. After her father died, she was raised by her mother and step-father Abraham Copeland in Los Angeles, California. A four-time national champion in shot put, Copeland switched to the discus throw and set a new world record at the 1928 Olympic trials. She was the first woman to win a silver medal for the discus throw and later broke the Olympic and world records to win a gold at the 1932 Olympics. She played in the 1935 (Second) World Maccabiah games but boycotted the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. A law school graduate, Copeland joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in 1936 and worked there until her retirement in 1960.


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This photo was taken during the 1930s, the decade in which all-round athlete Lillian Copeland (1904 – 1964) both won an Olympic gold medal—in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics—and was one of the many athletes to boycott the Olympic Games that were held in Berlin in 1936.

Institution: United States Library of Congress.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women in the Olympics - Lillian Copeland." (Viewed on June 10, 2023) <>.


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