April 4, 2014 -- From hurtling to victory in mere hundredths of a second to climbing the corporate ladder, Olympic Gold Medalist Benita Fitzgerald Mosley kept Marine Corps Systems Command listeners in rapt attention April 1, giving Women’s History Month its own ringing close at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
The event was sponsored by the MCSC Deputy Commander for Resource Management, which promoted Women’s History Month activities at the command.
Fitzgerald Mosley, a native daughter of nearby Dale City, addressed the month’s theme, Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment, relating it to the rigors she endured training for and triumphing in the 100-meter hurdles at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
She recalled how, at an early age, she began to excel in athletics and academics. She attended the University of Tennessee on a full athletic scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering. While at Tennessee, she was a 15-time All-American and won four NCAA titles, including three 100-meter outdoor hurdles championships.
Nothing, she emphasized, came natural. Her victories were born out of hard work and dedication, never stopping even at the end.
“My coach told me to run through the finish line for another 10 yards and never let up,” she said. “When I took his advice, the wins started to come.”
Fitzgerald Mosley said that never-quit attitude carried her through all the peaks and valleys of her professional and personal life for the last 30 years.
Today she serves as chief of organizational excellence for the U.S. Olympic Committee. From there she oversees athlete career programs, the athlete ombudsman’s office, diversity and inclusion program, human resources, facilities, organizational development, security and strategic planning. She also serves on the International Olympic Committee Women and Sport Commission.
As the MCSC Women’s History Month Committee noted, through Fitzgerald Mosley “we are reminded that even in America, freedom and justice have never come easily. As part of a centuries-old and ever-evolving movement, countless women have put their shoulder to the wheel of progress—activists who gathered at Seneca Falls and gave expression to a righteous cause; trailblazers who defied convention and shattered glass ceilings; millions who claimed control of their own bodies, voices and lives.
“Together, they have pushed our nation toward equality, liberation and acceptance of women's right—not only to choose their own destinies—but also to shape the futures of peoples and nations.”
Before she concluded her presentation, Fitzgerald Mosley showed video highlights of the just-concluded Winter Olympics Games in Sochi, Russia, which prompted a warm response from the audience.
“What an honor,” said an employee, later posting on her social media page. “Benita is a smart and talented lady who inspired all of us.”
Before departing Fitzgerald Mosley received a plaque to commemorate her appearance and a copy of a collection of recipes from throughout MCSC from Deputy Commander for Resource Management Michelle Cresswell-Atkinson. The booklet also includes recognition write-ups, stories and vignettes about women who rose to be leaders throughout the nation’s history.