News08 Mar 2012

Hall of Fame Profile - Fanny Blankers-Koen (The Netherlands)


BlankersKoen will always be remembered for her feat of winning four gold medals at the 1948 Olympic Games but The Flying Housewife had been a top international athlete for a dozen years before her exploits in London.

She had gone to the 1936 Olympic Games at the age of 18, finishing fifth in the high jump as well as in the 4x100m relay.

In 1938, she equalled the 100 yards world record of 11.0, the first of 12 official world records during her career.

World War II robbed her of opportunities to compete at two Olympics but, as well as having two children during those years, she set world records in the 100m, 80m hurdles, high jump and long jump.

At the 1946 European Championships, Blankers-Koen finally started to amass gold medals, winning the 80m hurdles and being part of the victorious Dutch 4x100m relay team.

With Olympic rules then limiting athletes to three individual events and a relay, Blankers-Koen focused on the 100m, 200m and 80m hurdles in London and opted to not contest the high and long jump, despite being the world record holder in both disciplines.

She duly won her chosen trio and the relay, returning home to huge public acclaim and was taken through the packed streets of Amsterdam by a horse-drawn open-topped carriage.

Blankers-Koen went on to triumph in the same three individual events at the 1950 European Athletics Championships.

In 1999, five years before her death at the age of 85, she was voted Female Athlete of the Century by the IAAF.

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