100 Olympic Tidbits: Collision in Los Angeles

The women’s 3,000m final in Los Angeles in 1984 provided one of the most controversial moments in Olympic history. Actually, even months before the race, one of the competitors, Zola Budd, was already mired in controversy after she was granted British citizenship on such short notice. Budd was originally a South African and was thus banned from all international races because of her country’s apartheid policy. But after she began submitting record times in her races, which she ran barefoot, it was suggested that she run for Great Britain instead on the grounds that one of her grandfathers was British.

She arrived in Los Angeles with high hopes of winning the gold in the women’s 3,000m, her chief rivals being Romania’s Maricica Puica, who had the fastest time that year prior to the Olympics, and American Mary Decker, the world champion. Budd was leading the pack at slightly past the halfway mark when Decker, who was trailing less than a stride back, collided with her three times. The third collision caused Decker to fall and injure her hip, unable to continue. Budd stopped for an instant but kept on running as boos began raining down on her. She gradually fell behind and finished seventh, with Puica taking the gold medal.

Editor's Note: To celebrate the 100-day countdown to the London Games, we will be publishing 100 tidbits about the Olympics. Come back to Yahoo! PH Sports, as we publish a new tidbit every day.


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