Kastor, Deena : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Kastor, Deena

Deena Drossin

track and field

Country Represented:
United States

Years Competed:
2000, 2004

Medals Received:

Olympic Info:
Kastor won the bronze in the 2004 Olympic Games marathon. She is the first American woman to medal in the marathon since 1984. Upon winning the bronze Deena said: "It's incredible. The whole last lap I was in tears. I didn't know if I finished fourth or third."

Considered the top American long-distance runner, Kastor (she changed her name in 2003 after getting married) qualified for the 2004 Olympics in both the 10,000-meter race and marathon. She gave up her spot in the 10K, however, to focus on the marathon. Deena's powerful performance in the Olympic marathon event won her the bronze in an outstanding time of 2:27.20. Kastor, who burst into tears of joy in the final lap of the strenuous race, is the first American woman to medal in the marathon since 1984. Deena had also been a member of the United States track and field team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but had placed only 36th in the overall competition.

Kastor followed her Olympic triumph by winning the USA Womens 8K Championships in March 2005. Her time of 25:05 missed the national record by only three seconds.

Career Highlights:
Now named Deena Kastor, the former Deena Drossin started running competitively at the age of 11. She wanted to race against the other girls at her local track club in Agoura Hills, California. Her mother agreed to let Deena run, but urged to to forget about sprinting and run distances instead. Her mom felt Deena would have no shot in the sprints against the local club's phenom, a girl named Marion Jones -- the same Marion Jones who went on to become a legendary Olympic champion sprinter. So Deena ran the longer distances that eventually led her to her Olympic marathon medal.

Deena competed in both the North American Youth Maccabi Games and the Pan-American Maccabiah while in high school. After winning five California state titles, Drossin attended the University of Arkansas, where she said she lost her love of running. Although she had a terrific career, winning seven SEC titles (in 2001, Arkansas elected Drossin into the school's Sports Hall of Honor), she explained, "I resolved to move to Colorado after graduation and see if I could find it again...I guess it's just consistency in my training. I love running for the right reasons."

Following her move to Colorado, Drossin emerged as America's best cross country runner and a top international competitor in track and field. In 1997, she won the 10,000-meter at the World University Games, and finished third at the U.S. Championships. At the 1998 World Cross Country Championships, Drossin finished in 20th place (27:06), the highest finish on the American team; she also finished tenth in the 5,000-meter at the U.S. Championships. In 1999, Deena placed third in the 10,000-meter U.S. Championships and was the top American finisher (11th) at the World Championships.

Drossin blossomed in 2000 as she prepared for the Olympic Games. On March 26, Drossin broke the American road record in the 5K with a time of 15:08; it was also the fastest time in the world that year. Drossin continued her domination in cross country by winning both the 4K and 8K at the U.S. Championships; it was her third 8K title in a row. At the Olympic Trials, she won the 10,000-meter event in a Trials record of 31:51.05, a personal best. She said, "I didn't have any anxiety at all (in the race)...I just kept thinking of having an ice-cream cone afterwards." She also qualified for the Olympics in the 5,000-meter but chose to run the longer distance because her training had better prepared her for the 10,000-meter.

In 2000, Drossin was named Runners World American Runner of the Year. In May 2001, she announced that she would make her marathon debut at the 2001 New York City Marathon. The following month, she won the 10,000-meter at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships, thus solidifying her as America's top distance runner. At the 2001 World Championships, Drossin finished 11th in the 10,000-meter race with a time of 32:18.65. A month after the Worlds (September 16), she set a new U.S. record in the half-marathon at the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon with a time of 1:10:08.

In 2002, Drossin continued to be one of the best runners in the United States. At the U.S. Championships, she decided not to defend her 10,000-meter, choosing to run in the 5,000-meter instead, where she finished in second place. In October 2002, she beat her personal best of 2:26:53 in the Chicago Marathon, finishing sixth overall and was the top American woman. The silver medalist in the 8K at the 2002 World Cross Country Championships, Drossin also broke the U.S. record in the 10,000-meter (30:52.32) and the world record in the 5K road race (14:54).

In 2003, at the World Cross Country Championships, Drossin took the silver medal for the second consecutive year and helped the U.S. team capture the bronze medal. Then in April, she finished third at the Flora London Marathon, breaking the 18-year U.S. record with a time of 2:21:16. Following her success in London, Drossin was named the USA Track and Field Athlete of the Week for the third time in 2003. At the 2003 U.S. Championships, Drossin won the 10,000-meter title with a time of 31:28.97.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Feb. 14, 1973

Waltham, Massachusetts

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Jewish Sports Review, September/October 2000 issue (Vol. 2, No. 8, Issue 21)

http:// www.deenadrossin.com
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