- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Before her best races, Benoit has done three months or so of 110-mile weeks, running twice a day, the hardest workouts being loops of 16 and 20 miles, and having a weekly track session. It's now seven months since her Olympic victory, but only recently has she logged a training week to match those that led up to it. The reason, in part, is that she was wrong about being able to prevent Olympic renown from altering her life. In part, it's because she rearranged it a little herself.
"Right after the race, things weren't so bad," she says. "I ran a half-marathon in Philadelphia [in which she lowered her world best to 1:08:34], there was a parade in Portland, I was honored by the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and Freeport had a day. But people were understanding. They waited to have most of that kind of thing until after the wedding."
This was a real wedding, elaborate and exciting and right. It took place on Sept. 29 and ended with Scott and Joan sailing away from the cheering party in a boat Scott had built for her as a 26th birthday present.
Joan met Scott when she was a sophomore at Bowdoin in 1977. "I was talking to someone else at a rush party," she says, "and saw this tall, blue-eyed guy across the room and stopped my talking just to look. That was that."
The 6'3" Samuelson, who from certain angles bears a resemblance to Christopher Reeve, was funny, informal, a pole vaulter—"Good enough to maybe throw my pole up to the Olympic qualifying standard," he says—and a Nordic combined skier, which of course required that he ski jump. He's alleged by Benoit to be a daredevil. "He tried to use the windsurfing sail to get him up to 40 miles an hour on cross-country skis," she says. "It didn't work."
"Not crazy," Scott says in rejoinder. "Just curious."
It took a while for this match to jell. "I went off to North Carolina State for a year and a half to train with Mary and Julie Shea," says Benoit, "and I took it upon myself to begin writing to him from there, and he answered, and when I came back, well, that was that.
After Samuelson graduated, he began working on a stake for a trip to his ancestral Sweden. "He cooked chili dogs on Keystone Mountain," says Benoit in mock impatience, "he was a bouncer at a Jack-in-the-Box in San Diego, he fished in Alaska. I thought, 'Hey, he's never going to get to Sweden.' So we got back together, and that was that."
"Wait a minute," the Samuelsons' guest says. "There are three that-was-thats in that story."
"I know. I guess the main one was the second one, when I came back to Bowdoin from N.C. State. That was when we really knew. He hasn't made it to Sweden yet, either."