When Michael Johnson became the first man to win the 200-400 double at the same Olympics, a lot of people didn’t know that feat was accomplished TWICE by a female athlete. USA’s Valerie Brisco-Hooks did it in the Eastern Boycott Olympic Games of Los Angeles in 1984. Then Marie-Jose Perec of France did it hours before Johnson did it in Atlanta 1996.
But how about being the first person to win the 100-200-400 at the same Olympics? Or, hold the world record in all 3 simultaneously? Or become the first person to make the finals in all 3 events in different Olympiads?
The name Tommie Smith should ring a bell, as he held several World records simultaneously, but those events include distances in Yards vs. Meters, and the 200/220 straightaway and curve. While you’re at it, let’s bring up Ray Ewry with his standing LJ, TJ, and HJ victories!
Before we get to all the different combination and permutations, let’s take a look…
100-200-400 at the same Olympics
When I think of the first 100-200-400 at the same Olympics, I immediately think of the movie Golden Girl with Susan Anton. I was in high school at the time, and, well, any teen-aged male will remember that movie. Remember the shower scene?
Finalist in the 100-200-400 in several Olympiads
McKenley was also ranked number 1 in the 1947 world rankings for 100m, 200m and 400m.
Usain Bolt will probably take over that crown when he takes up the 400 meters seriously. I can only imagine what he will run with that speed, speed endurance, and his long graceful stride. (Carl who?)
Greatest Female Sprinters
6 female athletes have held world records in the 100-200-400. The confusion arises with the compilation of 100, 220, and 440 yard races.
The list includes Poland’s Irena Szewinska, Australia’s Betty Cuthbert and Marlene Mathews, and three British ladies.
My favourite is Poland’s Irena Szewinska because of her amazing longevity, graceful stride, plus her victory in the 400m in my hometown of Montreal, Canada back in 1976. I still remember that race clearly.
Marlene Matthews ran a 440-yard world record (57.0 sec) in 1957 and 100 yards (10.4 and 10.3 sec) and 220 yards (23.4 sec) in 1958.
Betty Cuthbert ran a 200m world record (23.2 sec) 1956, ran 100-yard world record twice (10.4 sec) in 1958, ran 440-yard (55.6 & 54.3 sec) in 1959, then finally the 400m (53.5 sec) in 1963 and winning the Olympic gold in Tokyo 1964 (52.01 sec).
These ladies were truly all around sprinters.
Who are YOUR favourites?