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Iolanda Balaş

Full name: Iolanda Balaş (-Söter)
Other name(s): Jolán Balázs
Gender: Female
Height: 6-0.5 (185 cm)
Weight: 159 lbs (72 kg)
Born: December 12, 1936 in Timişoara, Timiş, Romania
Country: ROU Romania
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 2 Gold (2 Total)

Biography

Born near Johnny Weissmuller's home, Balaş got into athletics through her caretaker, former high jumper Luisa Ernst. She made her debut in 1949, and developed a jumping technique which was not deemed advantageous, a variation of the scissor technique but without the rotation of the torso and with the legs opening, instead of coming together towards the bar. In 1955, before the Melbourne Games, she jumped 1.75 m setting the first of her 14 world records (plus 4 indoor). She was the favourite at the Australian Olympics, but she placed only fifth and the winner, the American Millie McDaniel, broke Balaş's world record. On 22 June 1958 in Cluj, she became the first woman to exceed 1.80 m. She won her first gold at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, reaching 1.85 m, 14 cm more than the second placed Pole Jaroslawa Jozwiakowska. "My first obstacle is the bar. It would be good to have a rival", she often repeated at the time. In Japan, despite suffering from tendon and knee problems, she won the gold by jumping 1.90 m. The tendon problems forced her to abstain from the European Championships in 1966, but for years she was to be associated with other well-known abstainers, who forfeited to avoid gender checks, which had recently been introduced by the International Federation. She retired officially in 1967, losing a competition after 140 consecutive victories (unbeaten since 1958). During her career she won two European golds (1958-62), and one silver (1954), apart from the indoor gold in 1966. Her last world record, 1.91 in 1961, lasted for 10 years. After retiring she married her former coach Ian Söter, taught physical education in Bucharest, and from 1988 to 2005 was president of the Romanian Athletics Federation.

Personal Best: HJ – 1.91 (1961).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Women's High Jump Romania ROU 5
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Women's High Jump Romania ROU 1 Gold OR
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Women's High Jump Romania ROU 1 Gold OR

Women's High Jump

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank BHC MBHC TMBHC TABHC C/F/P
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Final Round 5 1.67 1 1 5
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Final Round 1.40 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Final Round 1.50 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Final Round 1.55 metres 1T o 0 0 1 1.55
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Final Round 1.60 metres 1T o 0 0 2 1.60
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Final Round 1.64 metres 1T o 0 0 3 1.64
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Final Round 1.67 metres 5 xo 1 1 5 1.67
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Final Round 1.70 metres 4 xxx 1 1 5 1.67
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1T QU 1.58 0 0 2
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.40 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.50 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.55 metres 1T o 0 0 1 1.55
1956 Summer 19 Melbourne Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.58 metres 1T o 0 0 2 1.58
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1 OR 1.85 2 3 10
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1.55 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1.60 metres 1T o 0 0 1 1.60
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1.65 metres 15 p 0 0 1 1.60
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1.68 metres 1 o 0 0 2 1.68
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1.71 metres 1 o 0 0 3 1.71
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1.73 metres 1 o 0 0 4 1.73
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1.75 metres 1 p 0 0 4 1.73
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1.77 metres 1 OR o 0 0 5 1.77
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1.81 metres 1 OR xo 1 1 7 1.81
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1.85 metres 1 OR xxo 2 3 10 1.85
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Final Round 1.87 metres 1 xxp 2 3 10 1.85
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1 QU 1.65 0 0 2
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.50 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.55 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.60 metres 1 o 0 0 1 1.60
1960 Summer 23 Roma Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.65 metres 1 o 0 0 2 1.65
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1 OR 1.90 0 0 8
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.55 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.60 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.65 metres 1T o 0 0 1 1.65
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.68 metres 10T p 0 0 1 1.65
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.71 metres 1T o 0 0 2 1.71
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.74 metres 3T p 0 0 2 1.71
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.76 metres 1T o 0 0 3 1.76
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.78 metres 1 o 0 0 4 1.78
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.80 metres 1 o 0 0 5 1.80
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.82 metres 1 o 0 0 6 1.82
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.86 metres 1 OR o 0 0 7 1.86
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.90 metres 1 OR o 0 0 8 1.90
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Final Round 1.92 metres 1 xxx 0 0 8 1.90
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1T QU 1.70 0 0 2
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.55 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.60 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.65 metres 1T o 0 0 1 1.65
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.68 metres 12T p 0 0 1 1.65
1964 Summer 27 Tokyo Athletics Romania Qualifying Round 1.70 metres 1T o 0 0 2 1.70
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