Several years ago the New York Times began an article about Bonnie Frankel by wishing her a Happy New Year and telling her this could be her decade. USA Today wrote that, if ever there were a movie, “the life and times of Bonnie Frankel is it.” And a movie is in the works. The Los Angeles Times quotes one person after another who said Bonnie showed them how to get totally fit and move into their body’s full potential, like nobody else. They all said they look more physically fit than ever, even though they’re getting older.
So many people know of Bonnie Frankel’s triumphs. They’ve been covered by ABC, NBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, USA Today, etc. Where does one begin when they list Bonnie Frankel’s accomplishments?
Do we start with the fact that at 44, after dealing with a learning disability, a divorce, beating breast cancer against all odds, and, oh yes, being out of school for 27 years, she enrolled in community college where she developed a passion for running? Or that 1968 Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith became her coaching mentors. Or that two years later, when she transferred to Loyola Marymount University, she made history by getting the NCAA to change an eligibility ruling they had at the time. The new ruling, called “The Bonnie Rule,” made sports history.
Bonnie went on to become the oldest woman to compete in division one collegiate sports-in swimming she placed third. She is widely known as a remarkable athlete and great runner who has been a national champion in the age-graded master division in the 400 and 800 meters. She ranks in the top ten of the world masters in the 800 meter. That was after only year of training. She was one of the few women who became a head coach in division one that coached both men and women in a collegiate sport. Again, her list of sports accomplishments could fill pages.
When people are asked to describe Bonnie-from the press to Olympic athletes to fellow coaches to people she’s training-here are some of the things they’ve said: “What makes Frankel so different is … she can still outrun most of the runners she coaches. She’s a walking, talking, hugging infomercial of positiveness.” – Los Angeles Times columnist. “She has such infectious enthusiasm and she’s such a remarkable athlete.”- a coach who has trained many Olympic athletes. “She shows everyone who trains with her how to become totally fit and lose weight no matter how old they are.” – Former student.