November 9, 1906—April 25, 1989
A pioneer in U.S. women’s track and field and a St. Louis native, Delores “Dee” Boeckmann was on the first women’s Olympic team in 1928, running in the 800 meters in Amsterdam but failing to reach the finals.
During the 1920s, she held numerous track records from the 50-yard dash to the mile. She was also the first U.S. Olympic women’s coach, taking the team to the 1936 Games in Berlin.
Boeckmann was the first woman to chair a national Olympic committee when she assumed this responsibility for track and field and the first woman national chair of the AAU track team.
In 1950, at the urging of General Douglas McArthur, she became track and field coach of the Japanese women’s track and field team, making her the first American woman to coach a foreign national team. Boeckmann also was a pioneer for women’s participation in other sports, particularly basketball. A teacher and government worker, she was with the Red Cross in China during World War II.