Karin Kiefer Smith (born August 4, 1955, in Fürstenfeldbruck, Bavaria) is a retired female javelin thrower from the United States. She was born in Germany. She is a three-time Olympian. Smith qualified for a fourth, the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, but was unable to compete due to the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott. She did, however, receive one of 461 Congressional Gold Medals created especially for the spurned athletes.[1]

Her all-time career-best mark was 212 feet, 6 inches in August 1980.[2][3]

Early life and college success

After graduating from La Jolla High School, Smith initially attended UCLA before leaving to train in Germany in 1977.

Smith then returned to college, enrolling at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. While at Cal Poly, she won the Broderick Award (now the Honda Sports Award) as the nation's best female collegiate track and field competitor in 1982.[4][5]

With Smith leading the way, the Mustangs won the 1981 AIAW Division II national championship and then repeated at the first NCAA D-II national finals meet in 1982.[6] During an era when Division II winners could then also compete at the Division I meets, Smith won the NCAA Division I javelin individual national championship[7] on June 4, 1982 with a mark of 206 feet, 9 inches, which held the all-time event record with the previous design.[8][9]

International competitions

Representing the  United States
Year Competition Venue Position Notes
1976 Olympic Games Montréal, Canada 8th 57.50 m
1983 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 10th 59.76 m
1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles, United States 8th 62.06 m
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 20th 57.94 m
1990 Goodwill Games Seattle, United States 3rd 58.94 m
1991 World Championships Tokyo, Japan 13th 60.34 m


  1. ^ Caroccioli, Tom; Caroccioli, Jerry (2008). Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Highland Park, IL: New Chapter Press. pp. 243–253. ISBN 978-0942257403.
  2. ^ "Poly adds javelin star". San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune. March 25, 1981. pp. B4.
  3. ^ Ahrendes, Vern (April 9, 1981). "Former Olympian debuts at Cal Poly". Mustang Daily. p. 9.
  4. ^ "Cal Poly". Cal Poly. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  5. ^ "Track & Field". CWSA. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  6. ^ Wallner, Peter J. (June 18, 1992). "Trials culmination of work for local athletes". San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune. pp. B2.
  7. ^ Woolum, Janet (1998). Outstanding Women Athletes. Oryx Press. p. 375. ISBN 9781573561204.
  8. ^ "Smith first at NCAA meet". San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune. June 5, 1982. pp. B1.
  9. ^ 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Record Book