Barbara Lockhart: Mormon Athlete
Barbara Day Lockhart is an Olympic speedskater and professor of exercise science. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 3, 1941, to Robert and Elizabeth Day Lockhart. Her parents were athletes and encouraged her.
She received her first pair of speed skates at the age of eight when her father, who worked at the Montgomery Ward department store, found a pair in the basement and brought them to home to her. She trained herself by rising at 4:30 a.m., running three miles to the frozen soccer field that served as her ice rink, and practiced for hours. Later, when she was training on the rink near her home, Elaine Gordon, the women’s national speed-skating champion, noticed Barbara and invited her to join the Northwest Speed Skating Club. At the age of seventeen, she won the national speed-skating championship for her age group, and soon after the International Olympic Committee decided to create a women’s speed skating event. Up to that point, there had only been a men’s team. She went to the 1960 Olympic trials in Squaw Valley, California, in the intermediate division. Although many women skaters in the senior division were expected to make the Olympic team, Lockhart surprised them by making this first speedskating team and winning the qualifying race. Her father had told her the night before that she would make the team and she believed him.
She trained too hard and came down with mononucleosis, so she was removed from the 500-meter race and finished eighteenth in the 1500-meter.
She set her sights on the 1964 Olympics and attended Michigan State University, dropping out in the winters to train. While a student at Michigan State, she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While training for the Olympics, she taught herself Russian and befriended the Russian skaters, whom she knew were the best in the world. She learned her skating technique from them.
During the 1964 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, she was on track to win a gold medal, but fell for the only time in her skating career and did not earn a medal.
Lockhart was also on the USA World Championship Speed Skating Team in 1963 (Japan) and 1964 (Sweden).
She earned her bachelor’s and teaching certification from Michigan State in 1964. In 1967 she earned her master’s in exercise physiology from Michigan State, and in 1971, she earned her EdD in philosophy and administration from Brigham Young University, where she is a professor of exercise science. Prior to joining the BYU faculty in 1991, she was a professor at the University of Iowa and Temple University.
Lockhart also served as faculty athletic representative for BYU to the NCAA and the athletic conference. She also served as chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the Self-Study Committee, and the Awards Committee. From 1997 to 2002, she served as co-chair and chair of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee. She has been a consultant to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and president of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. She is past president of SHAPE and served on the National Standards for Physical Education Past Presidents Awards Committee.
She is the co-author of 21st-Century Wellness: The Science of the Whole Individual; Administration of Physical Education and Athletics; Tennis for Young Champions; and Protecting Against Eternal Identity Theft. She has authored and presented many papers.