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Frank Shorter Breaks Silence On Childhood Abuse

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Sep. 13, 2011
  • Updated Sep. 13, 2011 at 12:51 PM UTC
Frank Shorter is now telling the world about his difficult childhood. Photo: Globe and Mail

It’s taken the Olympian decades to open up.

Frank Shorter is now telling the world about his difficult childhood. Photo: Globe and Mail

In the current issue of Runner’s World, American gold medalist in the marathon, Frank Shorter, has come forward about the child abuse he suffered under his doctor father.

Now 63, the famous runner recalls his father using a leather belt to beat him. He also shared painful memories of similar beatings his mother received and the sexual abuse of his sisters. Shorter’s father also subjected his family to psychological torment.

“And everyone thought what a wonderful picture we made,” Shorter recalls of his family.

This horrible side of Shorter’s life is coming as a complete surprise to many within the running community. One such person is Jay Glassman, the race director of the Toronto Marathon. “I met Frank and knew he had a competitive edge, but I didn’t know it had anything to do with having been abused.”

Shorter says he was finally able to open up about his past three years ago to members of his family.

“In [town] they probably thought I was the luckiest little boy in the world to be able to tag along with him,” Shorter remembers. “But I was terrified. I was on red-alert every minute.”

For More: Globe and Mail

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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