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Olympic Gold Medalist Encourages Members of University Community to ‘Live Personal Best Life’
Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, who earned a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles at the 1984 Olympic games, has taken the lessons she learned on the track into her life. She shared her story as part of the University’s Allen Sack Lecture Series.
November 18, 2020
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
While watching the Olympics on television when she was 12 years old, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley remembers feeling inspired by what she saw. Just over a decade later, she went on to become an Olympic gold medalist in her own right, capturing first-place in the 100-meter hurdles at the 1984 games.
A former track and field standout, Mosley recently shared her inspiring story with the University community. She says the lessons she learned on the track helped her to get past the hurdles she has encountered in life.
“Having a good start is key to any race, especially a hurdle race,” she said. “The key to having a personal best life is to have the courage to take risks. On the track, as in life, oftentimes it’s just a small margin that separates the winners from everybody else. It’s that little bit of extra effort, maybe studying that one extra hour, that can make the difference.”
Although Mosley qualified for the 1980 Olympics, she did not compete because of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s boycott of the games in Moscow. She competed four years later in Los Angeles, where she took home the gold medal.
‘Her leadership leaves a legacy of impact everywhere she goes’
Currently head of community and impact and president of FundPlay at LeagueApps, a sport technology company that equips coaches and parents with the technology and community support they need to manage and grow their organizations, Mosley now works to help organizations and individuals win gold medals in life and in the workplace.
Mosley presented “Going for the Gold: Overcoming Life’s Hurdles,” as part of the University’s Allen Sack Lecture Series, which was established to celebrate the 40-year legacy of Allen Sack, Ph.D., a professor emeritus in the University’s Pompea College of Business and the founder of the University of New Haven’s sport management program. The lecture series invites leading experts in sports to the University to discuss political, economic, and cultural dimensions of sports on society.
“Benita knows what it means to be a champion in life, in the boardroom, and on the playing field,” said Brian Kench, Ph.D., dean of the University’s Pompea College of Business. “She has applied the lessons she learned as a world-class athlete to help organizations achieve unprecedented success. Her leadership leaves a legacy of impact everywhere she goes.”
Mosley, who entered the business world after her athletic career, credits her parents – educators who earned advanced degrees – with instilling in her the importance of education and of paying it forward. There is now a school named after her mother in their home state of Virginia – and it happens to be located on a road named after Mosley.
After overcoming what she calls “hurdles of insecurity,” Mosley has learned not to become discouraged if she finds herself in last place at the beginning of a race. She reminded members of the University community that it’s the finish line that counts, not the beginning of the race, and she encouraged students not to be afraid to take risks if they are not in the lead right away.
“It’s my personal mission to help people and organizations win gold medals in life and in business,” she said. “I call my gold medal the gift that keeps on giving, and I want to pay that gift forward as much as possible to help others achieve their personal best life.
“The next time any of you watch the Olympics and Paralympics on television, I hope it will motivate you to have the courage and character to do just a little bit more to stretch yourself to reach your dreams,” she continued. “Let the Olympic spirit inspire you to overcome your hurdles and to live your personal best life.”