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1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles - Women's 3000 m

 

 

Host City: Los Angeles, United States Format: Top three in each heat and next three fastest advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 8, 1984  
Date Finished: August 10, 1984  
(Competitors: 30; Countries: 21; Finalists: 12)  
    Venue(s): Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
Overview by IAAF    1984_olympic_stadium.jpg
The World Champion over 1500m and 3000m, Mary Decker, was a solid favourite for the Olympic title. Puică, the world’s best in 1981, and Budd, the world junior record holder, were regarded as threats. Decker set the initial Olympic record in the heats with 8:44.38, which was improved in the third and final heat by Puică’s 8:43.32. In the final, Decker led the field through a kilometre in 2:50.5, aiming for 8:30. Decker and Sly led at 1600m (4:35.9), and Budd then squeezed between the two of them and ran the next 100m in 16.0, but slowed slightly after 1700m. She and Decker then collided with the American falling heavily. Budd, confused by the incident lost concentration, and when Puică and Sly attacked with 500m to go, she had no answer. Just after 2000m, world silver medallist Brigitte Kraus (FRG) had stepped off the track with a leg injury, but went virtually unnoticed after the dramatic Decker incident. Puică trailed Sly until there was 250m left, and went past the Briton to clock 31.8 for her last 200m, winning by nearly 20m.
       
Summary by Sports-reference.com      
The heavy favorite in this event was America’s Mary Decker who had shocked the Europeans when she won the 1,500 and 3,000 at the inaugural World Championships in 1983. But Decker was not running as well in 1984, and she elected to drop out of the 1,500 after finishing second at the Olympic Trials, deciding to concentrate on the 3,000. Her biggest challenge was expected to come from Romania’s Maricica Puică, who had been the world best in this event in 1981. Much of the pre-race hype, however, focused on South African Zola Budd, an 18-year-old prodigy who had been ranked #1 in the world in 1983 in the 5,000 metres. Budd also ran barefooted, which added to her allure. The problem was that in 1984 South Africa was not affiliated with the IOC, having been banned in 1968 because of apartheid and the fact that South Africa would not allow blacks to compete equally in sports. But Budd had an out. Her father’s father was British so she could legally apply for citizenship there if she set up residence in Great Britain. A few months before the Olympics she and her parents moved to Britain and shortly thereafter, she was granted British citizenship.
The stage was set for a top race, and all three runners made the final easily. In the final, Decker led the field thru the first 1,000. At 1,700 metres, she and Budd collided and Decker fell to the track. She had injured her hip and was unable to continue, crying on the infield, as the field continued. Budd was shaken, as Decker had been her idol, and she was further shaken when the American crowd booed her mercilessly throughout the race. Puică and Wendy Sly (GBR) went to the fore just before the bell and Budd could not respond. Puică took the lead on the final backstretch and won quite comfortably, with Sly holding on for the silver medal. Budd would finish seventh. After the race, Budd tried to apologize to Decker, who was quite angry, and ungraciously refused her apology. Budd was initially disqualified for the incident but after review of race tapes, it was determined that she was not at fault and her place was allowed to stand.
 
 
        Results        
The final, held on August 10, 1984, is still remembered because of the fall after 1.700 metres of USA's Mary Decker after a collision with Zola Budd.

Prior to these Olympics, women had not been allowed to run long distance events. In 1928, a few women "failed" after the 800 metres and even that event was taken out of the Olympics until 1960. In 1972 the 1500 was added and in 1984 the 3000 and Marathon were new additions. World champion Mary Decker won the first heat to claim the new Olympic record. Maricica Puică improved upon the record in the third heat.

South African teen ager Zola Budd had controversially obtained British citizenship to enter the Olympics. The Apartheid government of South Africa had been banned from worldwide competition. Budd had gained notoriety for beating the world record in the 5000 metres a year earlier in South Africa, a performance not recognized due to the ban. Budd, who ran barefoot, was essentially and unknown commodity on the world stage. Decker also was largely untested in domestic races and had relatively little experience running competitively in a crowd. In addition to being the American favorite in the race, this was a home town Olympics for Decker having grown up barely 50Km (33 miles) from the Coliseum.

From the gun, Decker went to the front, with Puică a metre back. Starting slower, Budd ran through the field to assume her position on Decker's shoulder 200 metres into the race. They ran in the same formation for three laps. With four laps to go, Wendy Sly moved forward to challenge for the lead next to Budd. Unrelated to Sly's move but at about the same time, Joan Hansen tripped on Aurora Cunha's back kick, taking Dianne Rodger down with her. Down the backstretch, the runners were three abreast with Budd emerging from the group with a slight lead. Coming of the turn, Budd moved toward the curb, Decker immediately behind her took an awkward step. Four steps later Decker tripped over Budd's legs again, this time falling into the infield grass. Budd also jumped awkwardly in front of Sly and Puică trying to hold her balance. As Decker rolled on the grass holding her left hip in pain, the crowd booed. Puică rushed around Budd into the lead, with Sly on her shoulder as the bewildered Budd lost ground for a moment. But Budd ran around Puică and Sly to again take the lead. Deeper in the pack, somehow Brigitte Kraus also fell into the infield and out of the race. With a lap and a half to go, Sly again edged her way around Budd and into the lead. While Sly and Budd wore the same uniform, they were essentially strangers and there was no effort to cooperate tactically. Puică followed Sly around Budd and with 500 metres to go, Budd began to lose contact. Sly took the bell with Puică on her shoulder. With 250 metres to go, Puică passed Sly and went into her finishing kick, separating from Sly. Lynn Williams caught Budd and moved into third position. Budd continued to fall back through the field as the other athletes were launching their finishing kicks. Puică extended her lead over Sly, Williams even further back in third. Amid the boos, Budd fizzled into seventh place. Out of 12 starters, 4 had fallen during the race.

3000 m Women     Final 10 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 8.35.96     Maricica Puica Romania ROU 29 Jul 50  
2 8.39.47     Wendy Sly Great Britain GBR 5 Nov 59  
3 8.42.14     Lynn Williams Canada CAN 11 Jul 60  
4 8.42.78     Cindy Bremser United States USA 5 May 53  
5 8.45.20     Cornelia Bürki Switzerland SUI 3 Oct 53  
6 8.46.37     Aurora Cunha Portugal POR 31 May 59  
7 8.48.80     Zola Pieterse South Africa RSA 26 May 66  
8 8.51.53     Joan Hansen United States USA 18 Jul 58  
9 8.56.43     Dianne Rodger New Zealand NZL 9 Nov 56  
10 9.10.82     Agnese Possamai Italy ITA 17 Jan 53  
  DNF     Brigitte Kraus West Germany FRG 12 Aug 56  
  DNF     Mary Slaney United States USA 4 Aug 58  
3000 m Women     Heat 1 8 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 8.44.38     Mary Slaney United States USA 4 Aug 58  
2 8.45.77     Lynn Williams Canada CAN 11 Jul 60  
3 8.45.84     Agnese Possamai Italy ITA 17 Jan 53  
4 8.46.38     Aurora Cunha Portugal POR 31 May 59  
5 8.47.90     Dianne Rodger New Zealand NZL 9 Nov 56  
6 8.48.00     Jane Shields Great Britain GBR 23 Aug 60  
7 8.57.21     Hellen Kimaiyo Kenya KEN 8 Sep 68  
8 9.01.69     Roisin Smyth Ireland IRL 26 Oct 63  
9 10.48.00     Raida Abdallah Bader Jordan JOR 22 Feb 65  
3000 m Women     Heat 2 8 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 8.57.53     Brigitte Kraus West Germany FRG 12 Aug 56  
2 8.58.64     Joan Hansen United States USA 18 Jul 58  
3 8.58.66     Wendy Sly Great Britain GBR 5 Nov 59  
4 9.01.77     Albertina Machado Portugal POR 25 Dec 61  
5 9.05.56     Donna Gould Australia AUS 10 Jun 66  
6 9.06.54     Eva Ernström Sweden SWE 2 Sep 61  
7 9.15.82     Annette Sergent-Palluy France FRA 17 Nov 62  
8 9.24.66     Sue Lee Canada CAN 7 May 60  
9 9.41.14     Liliana Gongora Argentina ARG 24 Nov 65  
10 9.42.66     Mwinga Mwanjala Tanzania TAN 13 Jan 60  
3000 m Women     Heat 3 8 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 8.43.32     Maricica Puica Romania ROU 29 Jul 50  
2 8.43.97     Cindy Bremser United States USA 5 May 53  
3 8.44.62     Zola Pieterse South Africa RSA 26 May 66  
4 8.45.82     Cornelia Bürki Switzerland SUI 3 Oct 53  
5 8.54.34     Monica Joyce Ireland IRL 16 Jul 58  
6 9.07.18     Geri Fitch Canada CAN 7 Apr 54  
7 9.27.08     Marcianne Mukamurenzi Rwanda RWA 11 Nov 59  
8 9.40.63     Geeta Zutshi India IND 2 Dec 56  
9 9.42.28     Krisia García El Salvador ESA 20 Sep 63  
  DNF     Mónica Regonessi Chile CHI 27 Apr 61  
  DNF     Rosa Mota Portugal POR 29 Jun 58  
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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