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Lillian Copeland

Lillian Copeland was the epitome of a strong woman with a remarkable career, first as a record-setting Olympic medalist and later as an officer in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Copeland was a four-time national shot put champion before setting world records at the 1928 Olympic trials in the discus throw and the 400-meter relay, winning silver for the discus throw in the actual competition. She went on to win gold in the discus throw at the 1932 Olympics, setting a new world record. She won the triple championship for discus throw, javelin throw, and shot put at the 1935 World Maccabiah Games, her last competition, but boycotted the 1936 Berlin Olympics a year later. The boycott marked her retirement from sports, and in 1936 she joined the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, qualifying as an expert marksman and serving as a sergeant for the Juvenile Bureau for many years. She retired from the service in 1960.

Topics: Athletes, Olympics

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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.

Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death
Athlete, Police officer

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Lillian Copeland." (Viewed on May 28, 2020) <>.


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