August 2, 1932—Games of the X Olympiad, Los Angeles
"If you put it in her hand, she can throw it—whatever it is—farther than anyone in the world," bragged Lillian's mom. Fans sitting near her wanted to believe, but scoreboards don't lie. Lillian Copeland, hometown favorite, stood in second place, trailing Ruth Osborn, the lanky Olympic finals discus champ.
"Don't doubt her," urged the proud, combative mom, but no one was listening. Everyone was watching Lillian as she prepared for her final throw.
"She has only herself to blame," said a scowling man with a thin, crooked mustache that looked as if it had been drawn awkwardly on his face.
"Whattayamean?" asked a boy behind him.
"Shhh..." ordered his dad. "She's gettin' ready."
Lillian entered the 8-foot circle. She held the discus in the palm of her hand, its rim resting lightly along the top joints of her fingers.
"She quit training after winning the silver in '28...quit to go to law school," scoffed the man, while never taking his eyes off Lillian. The slender, curly-haired brunette crouched slightly at the back of the circle, her arms fully extended. "She'd rather go to school than play sports?" squealed the boy.
Slowlly but deliberately, Lillian pulled back her arm holding the discus. She exploded out of her crouch, whirling counterclockwise 2.5 times. At the last possible moment, she whipped her arm forward and heaved the discuss 133 feet 2 inches, a world record that clinched the gold medal.
To protest antisemitism, Lillian Copeland refused to compete at the 1936 Olympic games in Nazi Germany. She was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1994.