Margitta GUMMEL

Margitta Gummel - East Germany - Olympic Shot Put Gold in 1968

Photo/Foto: E. D. Lacey (1922-1976)

Date: 01 July 1970

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      Sunday, 29 June 1941
      Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany.
  • East Germany

Margitta GUMMEL - East Germany - Olympic Shot Put Gold in 1968

Margitta Gummel and Nadezhda Chizhova (Soviet Union) were the two protagonists in one of athletics greatest rivalries, which saw both athletes setting multiple world shot put records during the late 1960's. Competing under her maiden name of Hemboldt, Margitta competed at her first Olympics at Tokyo in 1964, where she finished fifth. Two years later, and by that time competing under her married name of Gummel, Margitta finished second to Chizhova with a 17.05m performance in the 1966 European Championships at Budapest, which was the first of a number of major championships duels between the pair. Chizhova set her first world record of 18.67m in April 1968, but Gummel bettered that mark with an 18.87m put on 22 September, setting the scene for a much expected showdown between the two athletes at the following month's Olympic Games in Mexico City. However, in the Mexico final on 20 October, Gummel put paid to Chizhova's aspirations by improving her month-old world record to 19.07m in round 3, and then sealed her victory beyond doubt with a staggering 19.61m throw in round 5, to record her second world record of the afternoon and claim the gold medal. In early 1969 Margitta lost her world record to Chizhova but reclaimed it with a 20.10m performance on 11 September, only five days before the European Championships shot put final in Athens. However, at Athens, it was Chizhova's turn to grab the limelight, where she not only relegated Gummel to a second place finish but also broke her world record. With no major international championships in which to compete in 1970, Gummel competed in a number of minor events, including her participation in an international match at White City, London on 10-11 July (see photo above) where she contributed to East Germany easily defeating Great Britain. (Ron Casey)