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Grete Andersen-Waitz

Full name: Grete Andersen-Waitz
Gender: Female
Height: 5-7.5 (172 cm)
Weight: 117 lbs (53 kg)
Born: October 1, 1953 in Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Died: April 19, 2011 in Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Affiliations: Sportsklubben Vidar, Oslo (NOR)
Country: NOR Norway
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Silver (1 Total)

Biography

Grete Andersen was a very talented middle distance runner as a teenager, setting a new European junior record at 1500 m when she was only 17, and she competed in both the 1971 European Championships and the 1972 Olympics without being advancing to the finals. Her international breakthrough came in 1974, when she won the bronze medal at 1,500 m at the European Championships, and she was a semi-finalist at the distance at the 1976 Olympics. By then she had finished her education as a teacher and married her club coach Jack Waitz. In the 1978 European Championships she won another bronze medal, this time in the new event, 3,000 m. In 1975 she had broken the world record at the distance with 8:46.6 in a solo effort in Oslo.

The year 1978 marked the start of her astonishing career as a marathon runner. She was invited to run the New York Marathon by race director Fred Lebow, and after some reluctance she decided to go for it. To everybody’s surprise, she won the race, bettering the unofficial women’s best time by over 2 minutes. She won the New York Marathon nine times between 1978 and 1988, bettering the world’s best time on three more occasions. She also won London Marathon twice, in 1983 and 1986, on the last occasion with her career best of 2-24:54. In 1983 she became the first marathon World Champion at the inaugural championship in Helsinki, and followed this with her silver medal in the first women’s Olympic marathon in 1984 at Los Angeles. Waitz also won the International Cross-Country Championship five times (1978-81, 1983), a record she shares with Doris Brown.

For her remarkable career in athletics Waitz was appointed a Knight 1st Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav, which she received from King Harald V of Norway in November 2008. Waitz also received the St. Olav Medal in 1981 and St. Hallvard's Medal in 1989.

Personal Bests: 1,500 – 4:00.55 (1978); 3,000 - 8:31.75 (1979); Mar – 2-24:54 (1986).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1972 Summer 18 München Athletics Women's 1,500 metres Norway NOR 6 h2 r1/3
1976 Summer 22 Montréal Athletics Women's 1,500 metres Norway NOR 8 h1 r2/3
1984 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Women's Marathon Norway NOR 2 Silver
1988 Summer 34 Seoul Athletics Women's Marathon Norway NOR AC DNF

Women's 1,500 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(A)
1972 Summer 18 München Athletics Norway Round One Heat Two 6 4:16.00
1976 Summer 22 Montréal Athletics Norway Semi-Finals Heat One 8 4:04.80
1976 Summer 22 Montréal Athletics Norway Round One Heat Two 4 QU 4:07.20

Women's Marathon

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1984 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Norway Final Standings 2 2-26:18
1988 Summer 34 Seoul Athletics Norway Final Standings AC DNF
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