Olympic Medalist Frank Shorter Delivered Moving Keynote Address at the 2012 Indiana Probation Officers Annual Conference
July 3, 2012 by Editor
The Indiana Probation Officers meet annually to share information concerning legislative, judicial and other developments that impact their profession, to fulfill their continuing education requirements, and to hear from interesting and inspiring speakers. On May 3, 2012 they were fortunate to hear the words of one of our true American heroes who spoke openly and from the heart on a topic that is too often hidden from the public behind walls of fear.
Frank Shorter won the Gold Medal in the 1972 Olympic Marathon. He won the Silver Medal in the 1976 Olympic Marathon. He graduated from Yale University in 1969. He graduated from the University of Florida Law School in 1973. He was the founding chairman of the board of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which regulates drug-testing among athletes in this country. He was also the victim of child abuse.
He was severely abused, physically, mentally and emotionally, into his high school years by his father, Dr. Samuel Shorter. His father was the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He was a general practitioner and a highly respected doctor in Middletown, New York. The quiet town with a population of just 22,000 residents was nestled in the Hudson River Valley about 60 miles northwest of New York City. Frank Shorter told a story of great tragedy in stark contrast to his superb running accomplishments for which he was more noted. What seemed like an ideal and loving family on the outside was anything but that on the inside. Often fueled by alcohol, his father would come up the stairs in the evening and pick out one of the children to verbally berate and to physically beat with the buckle end of his leather belt. The story Frank Shorter told of the continuing torture that he and his family endured at the hands of this man was chilling and mesmerizing. Frank Shorter told of the pain he and his brothers and sisters, as well as his mother, endured at the hands of his abusive father. He spoke movingly of his experiences and explained why he decided after many years of silence to come forward and speak out. He expressed a desire to let victims of child abuse, past and present, know that they are not alone. As with his winning seasons, Frank Shorter’s commitment to child abuse exposure and prevention continues to be an inspiration for others.