Tatyana Samolenko - U.S.S.R. - Olympic 3000m gold in Seoul

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 25 September 1988

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Tatyana SAMOLENKO - U.S.S.R. - Olympic 3000m gold in Seoul

 Following her double gold-medal winning performance in the 1500m and 3000m at the 1987 World Championships in Rome, there was much speculation as to whether Tatyana Samolenko could repeat that performance at the following year's Olympic Games in Seoul. Samolenko only raced sparingly prior to Seoul, although she was unbeaten in the three (one indoor and two outdoor) 3000m races she contested, which including a victory at the World Games in Helsinki on 30 June. Samolenko was more renowned as a competitor than a producer of fast times, relying on her devastating finishing kick to outsprint her rivals off whatever pace a race was run.


However, this did not mean that she couldn't maintain a fast pace imposed by others. In the 3000m final at Seoul, contested on 25 September, Mary Slaney (USA) led the field through the 1000m mark at world record pace. Although Slaney eventually dropped back, the fast tempo continued for the remainder of the race, with most of the major contenders, including Samolenko, staying in touch. With 300m remaining, Paula Ivan (Romania) sprinted to the lead, but she quickly surrendered that lead to the even faster-finishing Samolenko, who went on to win the gold medal from Ivan (see photo above) in a new Olympic record of 8min 26.53sec. This time was 9.47sec faster than Tatyana had ever covered the distance before, and moved her to third on the all-time world list.


Samolenko and Ivan again did battle in the 1500m final held six days later. However, on this occasion, Ivan turned the tables on Tatyana, leading from the start, and eventually winning by a huge margin. Samolenko collected the bronze medal, having held on to the second position down the home straight, before being pipped at the post by teammate Laima Baikauskaite in the last few strides. (Ron Casey)


Women's 1500m. Final.

Olympic Games 1988

1. Paula Ivan   ROM   3.53.96 OR
2. Lailuta Baikauskaite   SOV   4.00.24
3. Tatyana SAMOLENKO   SOV   4.00.30
4. Christina Cahill   GBR   4.00.64
5. Lynn Williams   CAN   4.00.86
6. Andrea Hahmann   DDR   4.00.96
7. Shireen Bailey   GBR   4.02.32
8. Mary Slaney   USA   4.02.49



Women's 3000m. Final

Olympic Games 1988

1. Tatyana SAMOLENKO   SOV   8.26.53 OR
2. Paula Ivan   ROM   8.27.15
3. Yvonne Murray   GBR   8.29.02
4. Yelena Romanova   SOV   8.30.45
5. Natalya Artemova   SOV   8.31.67
6. Vicki Huber   USA   8.37.25
7. Wendy Sly   GBR   8.37.70
8. Lynn Williams   CAN   8.38.43