Maria Mutola - Oregon22 Heritage Trail Plaque

  • Address:
    1276 G St
    Springfield OR 97477

Maria Mutola was born in 1972 in Portuguese Mozambique and pursued sports. At age 15 she ran in the Olympics, but had limited resources for local professional training. In 1991 she was awarded a scholarship to train abroad and enrolled at Oregon's Springfield High School where a staff member spoke Portuguese. That year she finished fourth at the World Championships in Tokyo setting a world junior record and might have medaled but was impeded at the finish line (and the protest unsuccessful). Today she is the fourth female track and field athlete to compete in six Olympics. She holds 10 world titles for the same 800 meter event. For the later part of her career she moved to South Africa but continued receiving coaching from Margo Jennings, her Springfield High School coach. After retiring from active competition she played football and became a coach herself. An Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque has been placed for Maria at Shana's Trail — an 800 meter path named for Shana Thomas Barr, a local track athlete who also competed for Springfield High School. The trail is composed of applied aggregate and bark ideal for runners. The Heritage Plaque honoring Maria Mutola is at Willamalane Park in Springfield. As one of the district's first parks, Willamalane Park is steeped in history. The park features basketball courts, tennis courts, a playground, a skate park, a Veterans Plaza and jogging trails. In honor of the first World Athletics Championships in the United States, the Oregon22 Heritage Trail celebrates 22 of Oregon’s iconic track and field stars with commemorative plaques developed by the Museum of World Athletics (MOWA). The plaques are located in the athletes’ hometowns or at locations meaningful to the athletes. Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque eligibility was based on four criteria: achieving global medal status, no doping violations or connection to doping, retired from professional competition, and a resident connection to Oregon before or beyond college competition. The eight women and 14 men selected to be part of the Oregon22 Heritage Trail have combined for nine Olympic gold medals, four Olympic silver medals, eight Olympic bronze medals and numerous indoor and outdoor World Athletics Championships medals. Goodwill Games medalists and World Cross Country Championships medalists are also being honored.

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