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Mary Rand the First "Golden Girl" of British Athletics


Mary Denise Rand, MBE is an English former track and field athlete. She won the long jump at the 1964 Summer Olympics by breaking the world record, the first British female to win an Olympic gold medal in track and field. She remains the only Great Britain female athlete to win three medals in a single Games.

Rand competed at the 1960 Games in Rome, finishing ninth in the long jump after a strong start. In 1962 she finished second in the European championships in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now in Serbia). At the 1964 Games she jumped 6.76 metres (22 feet 21/4 inches), despite a headwind, to take the gold. She also won a silver in the pentathlon and a bronze in the 4 × 100-metre relay. In 1966 Rand won the gold medal in the long jump at the Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica. After missing the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City due to an injury, she retired later that year. Rand was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1965.


“I’d always loved the Japanese culture, so it was great to go over there and experience a different way of life. They were so organised, so good at what they did. It was amazing, they did such a fabulous job. They were just so gracious. It was a fantastic experience, whoever you talk to who went will probably say the same thing. I remember Rome [the 1960 Olympic Games], that was great, but Tokyo was something else.

Tokyo in 1964 was probably one of the best Olympics ever."

Mary Rand


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