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Ludmila Engquist - Sweden - 100m Hurdles Champion at 1996 Olympic Games.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 31 July 1996

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      Tuesday, 21 April 1964
      Tambovskaya Oblast, Russia
  • Sweden Prostate cancer charity

Ludmila ENGQUIST - Sweden - 100m Hurdles Champion at 1996 Olympic Games.


As a native-born Russian, Ludmila Engquist competed in the early part of her career for the Soviet Union, and under the surname of Narozhilenko, from her first marriage. Ludmila had literally risen to the top of the world during 1991, winning the 60m hurdles title at the World Indoor Championships in Seville, and the 100m hurdles title at the World Championships in Tokyo. However, from this high, Narozhilenko's world quickly started to fall apart. She dominated the 100m hurdles in the early part of the 1992 season, setting a new personal best of 12.26sec at Seville on 6 June, and seemed on track to add the Olympic title to the world title she had won the year before.


However, at the Olympic Games, in Barcelona, although she made it through the first two rounds, Ludmila had to withdraw from the semi-finals due to a hamstring injury. In February 1993, Narozhilenko received a four-year suspension when she failed a drugs test for steroids. Ludmila's marriage was breaking up at this time, and she moved to Sweden with her manager Johan Enquist, whom she later married. Ludmila maintained that her positive drug test had been caused by her previous husband spiking her vitamin supplement, an allegation that he confirmed in a case before the Russian courts, which led to the court lifting her ban and her subsequent reinstatement by the IAAF in December 1995 under their 'exceptional circumstances' rule.


Ludmila's next challenge was to gain Swedish citizenship to allow her to compete for her newly-adopted country, and this was granted on 20 July 1996, just weeks before the Olympic Games in Atlanta. In the final at Atlanta, on 31 July, Engquist completed her return to the top, when she narrowly won the gold medal (see photo above, in lane 6) in 12.58sec. (Ron Casey)