Rosalyn began her running career to escape the drugs, gangs and violence that she was exposed to in her Chicago neighborhood.
She knew she was fast when she challenged the boys on her block to a race and beat them all. Rosalyn was offered many scholarships, but she decided to head to California because she knew she would get the best coaching and competition there.
Clark made the 1976 Olympic Team, where she won a silver medal in the 1600 meter relay team and held the American record in the 400 meter dash for 8 years. Rosalyn is the only woman to win the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meters dashes in the NCAA Championships. She also won the gold medal at the World University Games in 1977 and held five indoor world records at one time.
Rosalyn was inducted into the Hall of Fame at California State University, Los Angeles in 1985. Rosalyn is now a Los Angeles police officer and a physical fitness/self defense instructor at the Police Academy.
Rosalyn holds a Masters degree in Recreation/Physical Education and she says that her biggest accomplishments are her family — her husband Gary, daughter Breanna and son Rashard.
Ros now trains and coaches her daughter to run track, and Breanna won a gold medal in the 400m race at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
5 QUESTIONS WITH OLYMPIAN ROSALYN CLARK
Q. What is your best exercise advice?
A. Keep doing it. Start now and continue on and let it be a lifetime of fitness so we never stop. As a kid once you implant it and it becomes a part of you then it never stops.
Q. What was the biggest health and fitness obstacle you faced growing up?
A. The only obstacle I had was probably nutrition because at that time we didn’t even think about nutrition because we were exercising so much and burning so many calories. Nobody taught us much about nutrition. I learned that later in life as I got older.
Q. What is your fitness regimen like today?
A. I try to work out 3-4 times per week. I do cross training. I swim, I do bike riding, running, tennis and weight lifting.
Q. What is the biggest benefit that you get from exercising regularly?
A. You feel better and hopefully if everything works out you’re going to live longer. I am healthier than most of my friends. When I see the friends that I grew up with, the friends that I graduated with who are around my age (61), when I look at them I am really happy that I kept my exercise regiment because I see that they stopped. Even some of my Olympian friends have stopped and they’ve gained 40-50 pounds. I know that’s hard on the knees and I’ve seen knee replacements, hip replacements and I am thankful that I still have both my knees and both my hips.
Q. Exercise can be boring, so how do you make it fun?
A. I try to sneak exercise in with my students while they are not even aware that they are exercising. I try to switch it up and make it fun so that you don’t even know you are doing exercise. It could be as simple as playing tag. You’re moving, you’re running, so you are having fun, but you are exercising, you’re sweating, you’re burning calories.