Yordanka DONKOVA

Yordanka Donkova - Bulgaria - 1988 Olympic 100m Hurdles Champion

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 30 September 1988

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      Thursday, 28 September 1961
      Gorni Bogrov, Sofia, Bulgaria.
  • Bulgaria

Yordanka DONKOVA - Bulgaria - 1988 Olympic 100m Hurdles Champion

Yordanka Donkova took the 100m Hurdles event by storm during 1986, winning the gold medal at the European Championships and lowering the world record three times. Donkova continued that form into 1987, setting a time of 12.33sec, which only she had ever beaten, early in the season on 14 June. However, that remained her fastest time of the year, and although she recorded nine other times under 12.60sec she did not dominate the event as she had done in the previous year. Indeed, she lost her world record to compatriot Ginka Zagorcheva in August, and in a major upset, she only finished fourth at the World Championships in Rome behind Zagorcheva. Putting that disappointment behind her, Yordanka returned in 1988 to dominate the event even more than she had done during 1986. Donkova was undefeated in the fifteen finals that she contested in 1988, and set the fastest nine times of the year. On 20 August, Donkova regained the world record, when she won at Stara Zagora in 12.21sec. Eight days later at the same venue, she clocked 12.24sec in her semi-final, the second-fastest time ever recorded, and then 12.27sec in the final the same day. At the Olympic Games in Seoul, Donkova was in a class of her own, winning her quarter-final in an Olympic record of 12.47sec, a time not bettered by an other hurdler in 1988, and then in the final, on 30 September, she won the gold medal (see photo above) in another new Olympic record of 12.38sec. Two days later, Donkova anchored the Bulgarian team to a fifth-place finish in the 4 x 100m relay final. As a measure of her dominance, it is interesting to note that up to the end of 1988, Donkova had recorded 13 of the top 16 times ever produced in the 100m Hurdles. (Ron Casey)