Stephanie Brown-Trafton represented the USA in Gold medal fashion at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Competing in track and field (in the Bird's Nest) she threw the discuss 212 feet, 5 inches for the win. Brown-Trafton now sits at the pinnacle of this field sport yet her aspirations are high for more athletic quests and to accomplish more in the outdoors.
The 28-year-old Brown-Trafton was raised in Oceano, California, a beach community south of Pismo Beach. Her family was outdoors oriented however they didn't spend much time in the hunting and fishing type sports. Young Stephanie at an early age was enamored with athletic sports and particularly the Olympics. Her role model at age 4 was Mary Lou Retton via the 1984 Olympics. Alas, a gymnast was not in the cards as she showed prowess in basketball and track.
She played both sports through the young years and went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo University on a basketball scholarship with sights on an engineering degree. When Brown-Trafton sets her sights, things happen. A knee injury limited her from continuing on in basketball, undaunted, she turned her full attention to track. Brown-Trafton closed out her collegiate career as a three-time Big West Conference champion and, just as importantly she earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering.
After college Brown-Trafton set her sights on the Olympics. She worked hard and represented the USA at the 2004 Olympics in Athens but did not reach the finals.
Back in the states Brown-Trafton kept her life and her goals in order. She got engaged to Jerry Trafton, the two of them acquired their own membership in Wilderness Unlimited (W.U.) www.wildernessunlimited.com
in February 2005 and married a month later. (Jerry's parents had a family membership in W.U. when he was a youngster. The outdoors pursuits of hunting and fishing were part of Jerry's makeup and Stephanie was eager to learn.)
Many exciting outdoor trips were planned and taken by the two but Brown-Trafton had unfinished business, training for Beijing and participating nationally and internationally all the while maintaining a professional career as well.
Stephanie has become as passionate about the outdoors as Jerry. She is very aware of her femininity and the notion that it is not considered "girly" by some to be a hunter or fisher. A model for feminine equality she is. Her love and desire for outdoor participation will not allow stereo-typing to hinder her desires any more than it hindered her becoming a world class female athlete or an engineer.
The outdoor stories are just in the early stages for Brown-Trafton and her husband. On one trip to W.U.'s Mosby Ranch west of Arbuckle, Jerry had left earlier to set up camp at the ranch. Stephanie left directly from work in the afternoon, entered the ranch and began looking for Jerry who had her gun. A W.U. patrolman reported observing a female, with a very focused look about her, driving across the ranch. When she entered camp he was a bit amused to see her get out of the truck in a different kind of hunting outfit … a skirt and high heels!
On another hunting trip to W.U.'s Stenzel Ranch in May 2007, the ranch fit her Olympic training goals as the ranch is limited to foot hunting only. The two headed across the ranch on foot in pursuit of wild hogs. Word has it they can "cover some ground". She was rewarded for their efforts with her first ever wild pig taken in the back end of the ranch.
When asked about the conflicts regarding the 2008 Olympics, Brown-Trafton stated that two came to mind. Jerry was not with her to share the joyous occasion (he chose to stay home so that Stephanie's coach could attend instead) and she was missing the opening of deer season!
The 2008 Olympic Gold Medal that Brown-Trafton won was a remarkable achievement, both personally and for the USA. It was the first gold medal for the USA women in discuss since 1932 and was the first track gold medal for Team USA 2008 who needed a jump start after a few early set backs in Beijing.
Brown-Trafton's commitment and passion for track and her inner strength to deal with the rigors of competition led her to success. Along the way she acknowledged a great deal of support from her extended circle of relatives and friends as well as her strong faith on and off the field.
Winning Olympic Gold medal often changes people. It doesn't look that way with Brown-Trafton. Her current goals are the 2012 Olympics in London, starting a family with Jerry and continuing her career. For outdoor adventure, calling in her own wild turkey tops her hunting list and finding time to possibly take up fly fishing.
With Stephanie Brown-Trafton's passion and commitment, is their any doubt of success?