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Zola BUDD - Great Britain & N.I. - 5000m World Record and 1984 Olympics finalist

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 10 August 1984

Click on image to enlarge

      Thursday, 26 May 1966
      Bloemfontaine, South Africa.
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Zola BUDD - Great Britain & N.I. - 5000m World Record and 1984 Olympics finalist

Zola is pictured during the 1984 Olympic 3,000m final in Los Angeles close on the heels of Mary

Decker and leading the eventual winner Maricia Puica with silver medalist Wendy Sly following.


Zola Budd, though born in South Africa, competed for Great Britain - the birth place of her grandfather. In 1984 at the age of seventeen she broke the women's 5,000 metres world record whilst living in South Africa but the record was not accepted by the IAAF. She then applied for British citizenship, which was granted, the objective being to compete at the Olympic Games, from which her country was barred because of it's undemocratic government's racism towards non white people.


She duly competed at the Games in Los Angeles but not without controversy. During the race she clipped the heel of Mary Decker who tumbled to the ground and out of the race in which the American was expected to contest a medal. As the result below shows Zola also failed to win a medal. Two years later, in a much faster race, Zola also missed out on a medal at the European Championships in Germany. Although she failed to some degree on the track, over the Country she was far more successful, winning two World Championship titles.


The first in 1986, when she beat Ingrid Christiansen and her second the following year. In 1985 she did set an official world record for the 5,000 metres (then not an event contested at the major championships) running 14m 48.07 seconds in London. It was Ingrid's record she beat but the following year the Norwegian regained the record. Zola, after several years out of athletics returned, to South Africa and ran for that Country at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona in the 3,000 metres, but failed to reach the final.


In 1985 and 1986 she won the World cross county championships.



Women's 3000m. Olympic Games 1984, Los Angeles.


1. Maricica PUICA            (ROM)   8:35.96
2. Wendy SLY                   (GBR)   8:39.47
3. Lynn WILLIAMS            (CAN)   8:42.14
4. Cindy BREMSER          (USA)   8:42.78
5. Cornelia BURKI            (SWI)   8:45.20
6. Aurora CUNHA             (POR)    8:46.37
7. Zola BUDD                    (GBR)   8:48.80
8. Joan HANSEN              (USA)    8:51.


Personal best performances.


800 Metres           2:00.9        Kronstad    16 MAR 1984
1500 Metres         3:59.96        Bruxelles    30 AUG 1985
One Mile              4:17.57        Zürich (  21 AUG 1985
2000 Metres         5:30.19        London   11 JUL 1986
3000 Metres         8:28.83        Roma    07 SEP 1985
5000 Metres       14:48.07        London   26 AUG 1985
10,000 Metres    37:31.50        Bloemfontein    14 MAR 2003