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1960 Olympic Games Roma, Italy - Women's 800 m

 

 

Host City: Roma, Italy Format: Top two in each heat and next fastest advanced to the final.
Date Started: September 6, 1960
Date Finished: September 7, 1960
(Competitors: 27; Countries: 16; Finalists: 9)
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Roma
Overview by IAAF 1960_olympico_stadio1.jpg 
Eighteen year-old Dixie Willis (AUS) was fastest in the heats with 2:05.9 (2:06.03). The veteran Russian Shevtsova, who had won bronze in the European Championships six years earlier, under her maiden name of Lysenko, was favourite, having set a world record of 2:04.3 two months earlier. Willis set the pace in the final, passing 400m in 60.0, with Shevtsova, Jones and Donath in close attendance. Willis still led into the finishing straight, with Donath beginning to fade. Shevtsova and Jones moved up to overtake, and Willis trod on the kerb and suddenly stepped off the track with 70m remaining. Shevtsova and Jones battled to the tape with the Soviet star getting home by half a metre, equalling her world record in the process. Willis stepped back onto the track and finished in approximately 2:27.5, though in official results she is listed as a non-finisher.
Summary by Sports-reference.com
After 32 years, women were once again allowed to compete over 800 metres at the Olympics. At the European Championships, the women ran 800 in both 1954 and 1958, both titles won by Soviet women. With an absence of races to choose from, no real favorite existed in 1960, but the Soviets were expected to be strong. The last five world records had been set by Soviet women, with Liudmyla Lysenko breaking the mark in July 1960. In the heats, Dixie Willis (AUS) had the fastest time with 2:05.9. She led the final as well, from the start until the final homestraight. But she stumbled on the curb and pulled off the track with only 50-70 metres remaining. The finish was close between Lysenko and Australia's Brenda Jones, but Lysenko prevailed, equaling her world record in the process.
Willis would return in 1962 to win the Commonwealth Games title. Her official status in the 1960 800 metres has been listed in various ways, none of which appear to be correct. She is listed in the Official Report as "Scratched" but she definitely ran. Other sources list her as did not finish. In fact, a YouTube video shows the race, and she actually finished the race, in approximately 2:27, as, after stepping off the track, she came back on and jogged across the finish line. This has been investigated by discussions with Willis who states that after being clipped by another runner, she stepped off the curb onto the infield and stopped briefly, but did, in fact, finish the race and was never informed of any disqualification.
 
 
Results

800 m Women Final 7 September

The women's 800 metres middle distance event at the 1960 Olympic Games took place between September 6 and September 7. This was the return of the event for the first time since 1928, when officials were concerned about winded athletes following the race and overreacted believing women were not capable of long distance running. This race was the first step in the progression of adding distance events, culminating in the first women's marathon in 1984.

Dixie Willis had the best time in qualifying, thus the Olympic record though Lyudmila Shevtsova had set the world record a month earlier in Moscow. In the final Willis took the race out, marked by Shevtsova. By the final straightaway, Brenda Jones was also with Shevtsova and looking fast challenging Willis for the lead. Suddenly Willis stepped on the curb and fell off the track into the infield. Shevtsova edged into the lead and dipped at the finish to equal her own world record and take the gold in 2:04.3. Jones was electronically timed at being .08 behind though electronic timing would not become official for another 17 years. Ursula Donath was the lucky (somewhat unified) German who was a step behind the top three when Willis exited to get the bronze. Less than two years later, Wilis would improve the world record by three seconds.

Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 2.04.50 Liudmyla Lysenko Soviet Union URS 25 (=)WR 2.04.3 h
2 2.04.58 Brenda Jones Australia AUS 23 2.04.4 h
3 2.05.73 Ulla Donath Germany GER 29 2.05.6 h
4 2.06.07 Vera Kummerfeldt Germany GER 25 2.05.9 h
5 2.06.63 Antje Gleichfeld Germany GER 22 2.06.5 h
6 2.07.95 Joy Jordan Great Britain GBR 24 2.07.8 h
7 2.08.11 Gizella Sasvári-Csóka Hungary HUN 27 2.08.0 h
8 2.11.91 Beata Żbikowska Poland POL 26 2.11.8 h
9 2.27.0est Dixie Willis Australia AUS 18
800 m Women Round One Heat One 6 September
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 2.11.05 Q Antje Gleichfeld Germany GER 22 OR 2.10.9 h
2 2.11.14 Q Brenda Jones Australia AUS 23 2.11.0 h
3 2.11.57 Zinaida Matistovich Soviet Union URS 28 2.11.4 h
4 2.12.42 Maryvonne Dupureur France FRA 23 2.12.3 h
5 2.14.24 Diane Charles Great Britain GBR 27 2.14.1 h
6 2.16.44 Zofia Walasek Poland POL 27 2.16.3 h
7 2.28.4 Lee Hak-Ja South Korea KOR 20
800 m Women Round One Heat Two 6 September
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 2.07.92 Q Ulla Donath Germany GER 29 OR 2.07.8 h
2 2.09.57 Q Beata Żbikowska Poland POL 26 2.09.5 h
3 2.10.10 Florica Grecescu Romania ROU 27 2.10.0 h
4 2.11.07 Olga Kazi Hungary HUN 19 2.10.9 h
5 2.13.72 Gilda Jannaccone Italy ITA 20 2.13.6 h
6 2.15.41 Phyllis Perkins Great Britain GBR 26 2.15.3 h
AC DQ Pat Daniels-Winslow United States USA 16
800 m Women Round One Heat Three 6 September
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 2.09.31 Q Liudmyla Lysenko Soviet Union URS 25 2.09.2 h
2 2.09.77 Q Gizella Sasvári-Csóka Hungary HUN 27 2.09.6 h
3 2.09.81 Krystyna Nowakowska Poland POL 24 2.09.7 h
4 2.10.17 Eleanor Haslam Canada CAN 20 2.10.0 h
5 2.10.23 Bedřiška Kulhavá Czechoslovakia TCH 28 2.10.1 h
6 2.10.71 Gerda Kraan Netherlands NED 27 2.10.6 h
7 2.13.53 Nicole Goullieux France FRA 29 2.13.4 h
800 m Women Round One Heat Four 6 September
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 2.06.03 Q Dixie Willis Australia AUS 18 OR 2.05.9 h
2 2.07.29 Q Joy Jordan Great Britain GBR 24 2.07.2 h
3 2.07.34 Q Vera Kummerfeldt Germany GER 25 2.07.2 h
4 2.07.71 Yekaterina Parlyuk Soviet Union URS 25 2.07.5 h
5 2.10.36 Ine ter Laak-Spijk Netherlands NED 29 2.10.2 h
6 2.11.55 Gül Çiray Turkey TUR 20 2.11.4 h
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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