It’s taken the Olympian decades to open up.
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.”
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