Louise Ritter - U.S.A. - Olympic Games High Jump gold in 1988

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 30 September 1988

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      Tuesday, 18 February 1958
      Dallas, Texas
  • U.S.A.
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Louise RITTER - U.S.A. - Olympic Games High Jump gold in 1988


Louise Ritter had shown a lot of early potential as a high jumper, but it wasn't until she enrolled at Texas Women's University in 1977, when she was persuaded to change her style from the straddle to the Fosbury Flop, that her career really took off. In 1978 Louise won her first national title, and the following year she won the high jump at the Pan-American Games in San Juan with a personal best of 1.93m. Ritter's performances tended to stagnate over the next few years, until she made a number of improvements on her personal best in 1983, culminating with a 2.01m clearance at Rome on 1 September. A few weeks earlier, she had won the bronze medal at the World Championships in Helsinki with a best height of 1.95. Ritter had a disappointing time at the 1984 Olympics Games in Los Angeles, finishing 8th with a best jump of 1.91m.


Louise equalled her personal best of 2.01m at Zurich on 19 August 1987, but unfortunately, this form deserted her less than two weeks later at the World Championships in Rome, where her best jump of 1.93m was only good enough for equal eighth place. The overwhelming favourite for the gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul was world record holder Stefka Kostadinova (Bulgaria), however Ritter demonstrated that she was not to be discounted when she increased her national record to 2.03m at Austin on 8 July. At Seoul, on 30 September, Ritter and Kostadinova were tied for the lead after they were the only two jumpers to negotiate 2.01m. They then both missed all three attempts at 2.03m, necessitating a jump-off for the gold medal. The Bulgarian missed her additional jump at 2.03m, but Ritter scraped over (see photo above) to equal her national record and secure the gold medal. (Ron Casey)


Career highlights.

1977    World Cup    Düsseldorf, Germany    4th    1.83 m
1979    Pan American Games    San Juan, Puerto Rico    1st    1.93 m
           World Cup    Montreal, Canada    5th    1.87 m
1983    World Championships    Helsinki, Finland    3rd    1.95 m
1984    Olympic Games    Los Angeles, United States    8th    1.91 m
1987    World Championships    Rome, Italy    8th    1.93 m
1988    Olympic Games    Seoul, South Korea    1st    2.03 m