Born in New Zealand with badly deformed feet, Anne Audain was adopted as an infant by a kindly, hard-working couple–a printer and his wife–who nurtured her and taught her that being adopted meant she was special because she had been selected over all the other available babies.
But she was a tiny child, shy and bookish, and with her awkward, stumbling gait, she became a special target for teasing by her classmates. Finally, when she was 13, the doctors felt her bones were strong enough to sustain an operation, and her condition was surgically corrected. Liberated from much of the pain and awkwardness for the first time, she discovered athletics at a local club and literally in a matter of months had become a nationally known runner in New Zealand.
She went on to run in the Olympics, win a Commonwealth Games gold medal, set a world track record, and to move to the United States where she became the first female professional runner, a Nike sponsored athlete, and the most successful woman road runner of all time, winning most of the major U.S. road races she entered from 1981 to 1991. Now a naturalized citizen, she is a successful motivational speaker and businesswoman, and is the founder of the Idaho Women’s Fitness Celebration, one of the largest women’s sporting events in the world.