Tatyana Samolenko had established herself as the world's premier
middle-distance runner in 1987 and 1988, winning the 1500m/3000m double
at the 1987 World Championships, and respectively winning the gold and
bronze medals in the 3000m and 1500m at the 1988 Olympic Games.
Seemingly at the peak of her career, Tatyana married Soviet walker
Viktor Dorovskikh after the Olympics and went into semi-retirement,
giving birth to a son, Nikolay, in January 1990. Tatyana returned to
competition in 1991, competing under her married name of Dorovskikh, and
quickly demonstrated at the World Championships in Tokyo that her
athletic powers had not diminished during her absence from the track.
Dorovskikh only raced sparingly in 1991 prior to Tokyo, although she won
the 1500m and came second in the 3000m at the Soviet national
championships. At Tokyo, she was attempting to successfully defend both
the 1500m and 3000m world titles that she had won at Rome in 1987. The
3000m final, held on 26 August, was run at a solid pace, and at the
bell, there were only four athletes, including Dorovskikh, and teammate
Yelena Romanova in the leading pack. Romanova made her move with 200m
to go which Tatyana quickly covered. The two battled briefly down the
home straight before Tatyana eased ahead (see photo above) to win
the gold medal and successfully defend her title. Five days later,
Tatyana attempted to also retain her 1500m title, and the slow early
pace certainly helped her chances. Tatyana was in the leading group of
four that raced around the final turn led by Doina Melinte (Romania).
Coming into the straight, Hassiba Boulmerka (Algeria) sprinted to the
lead with Dorovskikh right behind her. However, on this occasion, the
Algerian's sprint was too strong for Tatyana, and she had to be content
with the silver medal. (Ron Casey).