Campus News

Bowdoin to Rededicate Magee Track October 15

Story posted October 04, 2005

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The Magee Track at Whittier Field.

Bowdoin College will rededicate the John Joseph Magee Track in honor of Joan Benoit Samuelson '79 Saturday, October 15, 2005, during Homecoming Weekend.

The outdoor track, located at Whittier Field, is being rededicated through the generosity of Nike, Inc., whose $300,000 gift funded the recent improvements to the track-and-field facility.

A short rededication ceremony will take place at halftime (approximately 1 p.m.) of the Bowdoin-Hamilton football game.

Scheduled speakers include Benoit Samuelson, Nike Brand President Mark Parker, Libby Barney '03, and Bowdoin President Barry Mills.

Benoit Samuelson will lead a ceremonial run around the track following the football game.

Nike's gift to Bowdoin for the track enhancement was part of the Bowerman Track Renovation Program, a 10-year, $2 million program dedicated to refurbishing or constructing running tracks around the world; and NikeGO, Nike's signature U.S. community affairs initiative and the company's long-term commitment to getting kids more physically active.

Improvements to the track will benefit not only the Bowdoin teams, but also those from Freeport High School, who, as part of the agreement with Nike, will have access to the track in the years ahead.

Upgrades to the facility have included widening the straight-away track on the starting side from six to eight lanes, repairing the steeple chase and high jump areas, relocating the long jump and pole vault areas, and resurfacing the entire track.

The material for the pole vault, steeple chase, long jump and high jump equipment incorporate Nike Grind material made from byproduct (or what was once waste) from the manufacturing of new Nike footwear outsoles as part of the company's Reuse-A-Shoe program. Reuse-A-Shoe is an integral part of NikeGO.

Bowdoin's outdoor track is named for John Joseph (Jack) Magee, the College's first athletic director, who served as coach of the track team from 1913 to 1925 and director of track and field athletics from 1925 until his 1955 retirement. Magee's teams won 20 Maine State Championships in 38 years of competition, including nine consecutive state titles after World War I. Bowdoin teams won the New England Championships four times - in 1923, 1925, 1934, and 1950. Magee was a member of the coaching staff for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field teams in the 1920, 1924, 1928, and 1932 Olympic Games. He turned down a coaching position for the 1936 Olympics because he did not believe that the Games should be held in Nazi Germany. Magee was elected to the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame in 1949, was vice-president of the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States, co-founder and president of the Maine AAU, and former president of the Association of Collegiate Track Coaches of America. Born in 1883, Magee died at the age of 85 in 1968.

The most recognizable athlete in Bowdoin's history, Joan Benoit Samuelson is one of the most decorated runners in the world. A two-time champion at the Boston Marathon (setting world records in 1979 and 1983), she was presented with the Jesse Owens Award in 1984, and in 1985 earned the Sullivan Award as the top U.S. amateur athlete. She will forever be remembered for her dominating gold-medal performance in the inaugural women's marathon at the 1984 Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles. She has been inducted into the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame, the Boys' and Girls' Clubs of America National Hall of Fame, the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, the International Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame, the Bowdoin College Athletic Hall of Honor, and, most recently, the USATF National Track and Field Hall of Fame. A native of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Joan Benoit Samuelson now resides in Freeport with her husband, Scott Samuelson (Bowdoin Class of 1980), and their two children.

Nike, Inc. based in Beaverton, Oregon is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Throughout its 30-year history, Nike has been a consistent and strong supporter of women's sports, including its support of Joan Benoit Samuelson in her quest to become the first woman Olympic marathon gold medalist. Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program collects, slices, and grinds up old and unusable athletic shoes to make Nike Grind material, which is then used in a variety of sports surfaces, called NikeGO Places. Since its inception in 1993, Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program has recycled more than 16 million pairs of shoes, and has donated more than 170 NikeGO Places in communities around the world.

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