From The Mainichi Newspapers
By Hiromi Nagano
Published October 18, 2018

Now in my 40s, I am re-challenging myself at tennis.  In my twenties, I participated in the Pro Tour, but for a while, I have distanced myself.
After being assigned to Los Angeles, I began to compete in amateur tournaments.  As there are regional representative tournaments, I began training off the court as well.  From cycling in the darkness to Special Forces muscle training, the variety has been abundant and enjoyable.
Many people also exercise under the blue sky.  Last month, I met an extraordinary woman,  Bonnie Frankel (63).  With close-cropped blonde hair, she repeatedly practiced sprinting.  She formerly was active in “Masters” track and field.  She spoke of re-entering college in her forties, where she helped change an NCAA rule preventing student-athletes from competing more than five years after the start of matriculation, allowing her to race against her younger classmates.
Now, she says she wants to participate in the 100-meter dash qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  Although to the untrained eye it might appear difficult, Bonnie insisted, “the important thing is not whether I win or lose.  It’s about how close I can get to my goal.”
I felt my own ambitions rise upon hearing her words.  Self-satisfaction is enough.  My rival is not my twenty-year-old self, but rather the “me” of yesterday. [Hiromi Nagano]
Photo’s by Reuben Monastra

Bonnie Frankel Trains in Valley for Olympic Trials

From The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, CA)

By Patti Myers

Published March 1, 2004

Bonnie Frankel left the fast lane lifestyle of Los Angeles in hopes of getting on the fast track to fulfilling a dream.

She battled hip replacement surgery almost four years ago, decided to pack up her Ford Focus and landed on the doorstep of friends in Palm Springs. She left everything behind to move forward.

Today, Frankel thinks she’s headed in the right direction.

Her goal? A trip to the Olympic Track and Field Trials on July 9-18 in Sacramento.

“I knew I came to Palm Springs for a reason,” said Frankel, 59. “It was fate that brought me here.”

Continue reading “Bonnie Frankel Trains in Valley for Olympic Trials”

Olympic Spirit Drives This Pair of Athletes

by J.A. Adande

Published September 18, 2003
On a man-made beach in Carson, a 42-year-old man follows a course that will take him to Athens one way or another, almost as if his momentum and the weight of his three gold medals won’t let him stop.

On a track in Palm Springs, a 58-year-old woman takes her first steps on an improbable journey to the Olympics, guided by one of the central figures in one of the most unforgettable Olympic images.
Two chances at Athens. One unwanted, one unlikely. But inside of 330 days until the 2004 Games, Karch Kiraly and Bonnie Frankel are reminders of what the Olympics can — and should — be about.Kiraly won gold medals with the U.S. indoor team in 1984 and 1988. He teamed with Kent Steffes to win the gold medal in the inaugural Olympic beach volleyball competition in 1996.He and partner Brent Doble will compete in the FIVB Olympic qualifying tournament that begins at the Home Depot Center today, and if they do well enough and rack up enough qualifying points, he just might have to continue. Continue reading “Olympic Spirit Drives This Pair of Athletes”

Coach Runs to Tune of Different Drummer

Colleges: At 51, Frankel puts a positive spin on Loyola Marymount’s cross-country program.

Bonnie Frankel is not your ordinary college coach, and she is proud of it. Just listen to runners she has coached at Loyola Marymount the last two seasons:

“I was ready to quit running because I felt burned out when I first met Bonnie,” said assistant coach Chuck Hernandez, who ran for Frankel last season. “But she really encouraged me and I turned around and set a [personal record] by over two minutes.”

Said freshman Lysandra Sapp: “She not only trains you but she tunes in on your mental aspect as well. She is able to key into your problems. She is just tremendous.”

Said freshman Malinalli Martinez: “Bonnie is so hyper with so much energy. She’s the reason why I decided to run here despite the fact Loyola does not have a track team.”

Continue reading “Coach Runs to Tune of Different Drummer”

It’s a Wonderful Life for Frankel

“What kind of year have I had?” said Bonnie Frankel. “Would crazy be enough of an answer? No? Well, then say I graduated college, won an issue, ran fifth in the nationals, gambled on not working so I could better myself and stayed alone. I don’t want another powerful man to eat me up. I won’t pair until I’m stronger.”

Bonnie Frankel turned 49 this month. And, as she would be the first to tell you, is still in the process of becoming. She opened the year as a senior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She had found out she couldn’t compete on the track team because her Division I eligibility had run out 26 years ago.

She originally entered college in 1962, did poorly and dropped out, but nonetheless started the clock on her five years of athletic eligibility. In those pre-Title IX days before the National Collegiate Athletic Association staged women’s championships the five-year eligibility rule was basically meant to prevent coaches from ripening football players for 10 or 12 years.

Continue reading “It’s a Wonderful Life for Frankel”

Colleges; Its Good Deeds Aside, N.C.A.A. Is a Culprit

Bonnie Frankel has a cold, an “emotional cold,” she thinks, from watching herself become a heroic symbol, so she probably won’t jump into the swimming pool until tomorrow at the earliest. Joan of Arc was burned for following her inner voice, so Frankel, who is not put off by the comparison, is willing to wait a few more days to get wet.

Bonnie Frankel is a 48-year-old senior at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. She was unable to compete on the varsity track team because she had originally enrolled in college in 1962. Under National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, the five-year period of eligibility at Division I schools begins the first day of enrollment. Bonnie had dropped out of school in 1963, but by 1967 she was out of luck anyway.

Continue reading “Colleges; Its Good Deeds Aside, N.C.A.A. Is a Culprit”

She Wins One for the Ages : NCAA: Unprecedented ruling gives Bonnie Frankel, 48, one season of swimming eligibility at Loyola Marymount.

DALLAS — As NCAA Convention proposals go, it was a little on the unusual side, an issue impacting a single athlete whose eligibility has almost run out.

Then again, the case of Bonnie Frankel–runner, swimmer and 48-year-old college student–is anything but usual.

She has fought off a variety of demons, including breast cancer, a learning disability and a divorce.

After being out of school for 27 years, she enrolled at Santa Monica College in 1989 and discovered a passion for education and running.

Continue reading “She Wins One for the Ages : NCAA: Unprecedented ruling gives Bonnie Frankel, 48, one season of swimming eligibility at Loyola Marymount.”