Vera Komisova - U.S.S.R. - 100m Hurdles victory at 1980 Olympic Games.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 28 July 1980

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      Thursday, 11 June 1953
      Leningrad, Russia.
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Vera KOMISOVA - U.S.S.R. - 100m Hurdles victory at 1980 Olympic Games.


Prior to 1980, Vera Komisova had competed for a number of years in the 100m Hurdles, both under her married name and her maiden name of Nikitina, without any notable success. Vera had set a personal best of 13.41sec in 1978, which she reduced to 12.87sec the following year. On 3 June 1980, at Leningrad, Komisova sped a hand-timed, and wind-assisted 12.6sec, which she followed shortly afterwards with a new personal best of 12.84sec. These performances ensured Komisova's selection on the Soviet team to the Moscow Olympic Games held later that year. Despite her improvement, Komisova was not considered a serious threat to a number of the competitors at the Olympics, including world record holder Grazyna Rabsztyn (Poland), and defending titleholder Johanna Klier (East Germany).


However, Komisova sent signals that she was a force to be reckoned when she won her heat in a personal best of 12.67sec, and her semi-final in 12.78sec. In the final on 28 July, Komisova took the lead just after the halfway mark (see photo above in lane 5), and was never headed, easily beating Klier (lane 3) in a new Olympic record of 12.56sec. Four days later, Komisova won her second Olympic medal, when she ran the lead leg on the Soviet 4 x 100m relay team which finished second, in a national record time of 42.10sec, to East Germany. Less than a week later on 5 August, Komisova won the 100m Hurdles at the Golden Gala meet in Rome in 12.39sec, the second fastest time in history behind Rabsztyn's world record. Although Vera competed for several years after that, she never again came close to the form she displayed during 1980, with the only notable performance a sixth-place finish in the 100m Hurdles at the 1982 European Championships in Athens. (Ron Casey)