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Jean Desforges

Full name: Jean Catherine Desforges (-Pickering)
Gender: Female
Height: 5-7 (171 cm)
Weight: 141 lbs (64 kg)
Born: July 4, 1929 in Forest Gate, Greater London, Great Britain
Died: March 25, 2013 in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, Great Britain
Affiliations: Essex Ladies Athletic Club, East Ham (GBR)
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Athletics

Related Olympians: Mother of Shaun Pickering.

Medals: 1 Bronze (1 Total)

Biography

During her career, which lasted from 1947-55, Jean Desforges competed at the 1952 Olympics, 1950 and 1954 European Championships, 1950 British Empire Games and 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. She won a bronze medal in the 4x100 relay and finished fifth in the 80 m hurdles at the 1952 Olympics. At the European Championships Desforges won two titles, winning a gold in the 4x100 relay in 1950 and gold in the 1954 long jump. As of 2013, Desforges is the only British athlete to have won a European gold medal in both a track and a field event. She was also fifth in 1950 and sixth in 1954 in the 80 metre hurdles at the European Championships. Desforges also won two bronzes at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games – in long jump and the 80 m hurdles. She won eight British titles – four in the 80 metre hurdles (1949, 1952-54), twice in the long jump (1953-54), and twice in the pentathlon (1953-54).

Desforges retired from sports after marrying Ron Pickering, a prominent athletics coach and television commentator. Their son Shaun Pickering also became an athlete, who competed at the 1996 Olympics in shot put and won a shot put bronze at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. After her husband's death in 1991, Desforges created the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund to help support athletics in Britain. By 2013, the Memorial Fund had given out £1.3 million in grants to young athletes, coaches and athletics groups and around 75% of the British track and field team at that time had been Ron Pickering Memorial Fund grant recipients earlier in their career. Desforges was awarded an MBE for her services to athletics and was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.

Personal Bests\: 100y – 11.1 (1953); 80H – 11.1 (1954); LJ – 6.10 (1953).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics Women's 80 metres Hurdles Great Britain GBR 5
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics Women's 4 × 100 metres Relay Great Britain GBR 3 Bronze

Women's 80 metres Hurdles

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(H) T(A) L
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics Great Britain Final 5 11.6 11.75 1
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics Great Britain Semi-Finals Heat One 3 QU 10.9w 11.37w
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics Great Britain Round One Heat Four 1 QU 11.4 11.51

Women's 4 × 100 metres Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T(H) T(A) L
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics Great Britain GBR Final 3 46.2 46.41 5
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics Great Britain GBR Round One Heat Two 2 QU 46.6 46.84
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