Mihaela PENES

Mihaela Penes - Romania - 1964 Olympics Javelin Gold

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

Date: 14 October 1968

Click on image to enlarge

      Tuesday, 22 July 1947
      Bucharest, Romania
  • Romania

Mihaela PENES - Romania - 1964 Olympics Javelin Gold

One of the most surprising results in Olympic history occurred in the women's javelin throw at Tokyo in 1964. The pre-Games favourite was reigning world record-holder and Olympic champion Elvira Ozolina from the Soviet Union. However, in the qualifying round held on the morning of 16 October, Ozolina's compatriot Yelena Gorchakova unleashed a new world record of 62.40m on her first throw to become the new favourite. Amidst the excitement, hardly anyone noticed Mihaela Penes of Romania or rated her as having any chance in the competition. Just 17 years of age, Penes came into the competition with a personal best of 55.38m, but her first throw in the qualifying round was a dismal 43.00m, and she followed this with a foul. Requiring a distance of over 49.00 on her last attempt to make the final, Mihaela just snuck in with a 51.19m effort. By contrast, in the final held later that same day, it was Penes who was the star attraction, booming out a 60.54m throw on her first attempt, a distance which eventually proved sufficient to win her the gold medal by over 2 metres. At the 1966 European Championships in Budapest, Mihaela collected the silver medal behind Marion Lüttge (East Germany). Although she was the defending champion, Penes was not considered the favourite for the javelin at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Coming into the competition, she was only 6th on the year-to-date world list, with a best of 57.16m. In the final on 14 October it seemed that history might repeat itself when Mihaela produced a massive 59.92m effort on her first throw to take the lead. This throw withstood all challengers except for a 60.36m effort from Angela Nemeth (Hungary) in the second round. Later that evening Penes (see photo above, at left) and Nemeth received their respective medals at the victory ceremony. Despite being only 21-years old, and with two Olympic medals to her name, Mihaela did not compete after 1968. (Ron Casey)
Women's Javelin Final. Olympic Games 1964
1. Mihaela PENES  ROM  60.54m.
2. Marta RUDASNE  HUN  58.27m.
3. Yelena GORCHAKOVA  SOV  57.06m.
4. Birute KALEDINE  SOV  56.31m.
5. Elvira OZOLINA  SOV  54.81m.
6. Maria DIACONESCU  ROM  53.71m.
7. Hiroko SATO  JPN  52.48m.
8. Anneliese GERHARDS  GER  52.37m.
Women's Javelin Final. European Athletics Championships 1966
1. Marion LÜTTGE-GRÄFE  GDR  58.74m.
2. Mihaela PENES  ROM  56.94m.
3. Valentina POPOVA  URS  56.70m.
4. Jelena GORTSCHAKOVA  URS  55.96m.
5. Elvira OSOLINA  URS  55.52m.
6. Marta RUDAS  HUN  54.30m.
Women's Javelin Final. Olympic Games 1968
1. Angela NEMETH  HUN  60.36m.
2. Mihaela PENES  ROM  59.92m.
3. Eva JANKO  AUT  58.04m.
4. Marta RUDAS  HUN  56.38m.
5. Daniela JAWORSKA  POL  56.06m.
6. Natasa URBANCIC  YUG  55.42m.
7. Ameli KOLOSZA  GER  55.20m.
8. Kaisa LAUNELA  FIN  53.96m.