Ellen Van Langen - Netherlands - 1992 Olympic Games 800m Champion.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 03 August 1992

Click on image to enlarge

      Wednesday, 09 February 1966
      Oldenzaal, Netherlands
  • Netherlands
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Ellen VAN LANGEN - Netherlands - 1992 Olympic Games 800m Champion.

 In a career plagued with injuries, Ellen Van Langen was indeed fortunate that her one good year, 1992, was a year in which an Olympic Games was held. Van Langen had been a soccer player until 1986, but had then embarked on an athletics career specialising in the 800m. She steadily improved and in 1990 came 4th in the European Championships at Split. The following year, during which she was troubled by an Achilles tendon injury, she was eliminated in the heats of the Tokyo World Championships. However, she returned from injury with a remarkable year in 1992, winning 10 of her 11 races over 800m. Leading up to the Olympics Games in Barcelona, she had recorded the fastest time of the season prior to the Games, beating Tokyo gold medallist Liliya Nurutdinova at Hengelo on 28 June in 1min 56.66sec.


She also recorded another fast time of 1min 56.92sec at Hechtel just two weeks before the Olympics. There was a strong field assembled at Barcelona on 3 August, including the first four placegetters from Tokyo: Nurutdinova, Ana Quirot (Cuba), Ella Kovacs (Romania) and Maria Mutola (Mozambique). Nurutdinova led the field through the first lap in a very fast time of 55.73sec, with Van Langen only in 6th position. Van Langen was still well out of medal contention as they entered the straight, but she then started a drive for the tape, passing every one of the first four from Tokyo, and winning in a season's best time of 1min 55.54sec (see photo above) from Nurutdinova and Quirot.


Injuries cost her most of the 1993 season, and also prevented her from competing at the 1994 European Championships. In 1995 she finished 6th in the World Championships at Gothenburg**, but further injuries in 1996 prevented her from defending her Olympic title. (Ron Casey)



1995     1:58.86     Göteborg    11 AUG **
1994     1:59.89     London  15 JUL
1993     1:59.23     Bruxelles     03 SEP
1992     1:55.54     Barcelona    03 AUG (personal best)
1991     2:02.02     Tokyo   24 AUG