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Athletics at the 1960 Roma Summer Games:

Women's 800 metres

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Roma, Italy
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Roma
Date Started: September 6, 1960
Date Finished: September 7, 1960

Gold: URS Liudmyla Lysenko
Silver: AUS Brenda Jones
Bronze: GER Ulla Donath

Summary

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.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Liudmyla Lysenko 25 Soviet Union URS Gold
2 Brenda Jones 23 Australia AUS Silver
3 Ulla Donath 29 Germany GER Bronze
4 Vera Kummerfeldt 25 Germany GER
5 Antje Gleichfeld 22 Germany GER
6 Joy Jordan 24 Great Britain GBR
7 Gizella Sasvári-Csóka 27 Hungary HUN
8 Beata Żbikowska 26 Poland POL
9 Dixie Willis 18 Australia AUS
3 h1 r1/2 Zinaida Matistovich 28 Soviet Union URS
3 h2 r1/2 Florica Grecescu 27 Romania ROU
3 h3 r1/2 Krystyna Nowakowska 24 Poland POL
4 h1 r1/2 Maryvonne Dupureur 23 France FRA
4 h2 r1/2 Olga Kazi 19 Hungary HUN
4 h3 r1/2 Eleanor Haslam 20 Canada CAN
4 h4 r1/2 Yekaterina Parlyuk 25 Soviet Union URS
5 h1 r1/2 Diane Charles 27 Great Britain GBR
5 h2 r1/2 Gilda Jannaccone 20 Italy ITA
5 h3 r1/2 Bedřiška Kulhavá 28 Czechoslovakia TCH
5 h4 r1/2 Ine ter Laak-Spijk 29 Netherlands NED
6 h1 r1/2 Zofia Walasek 27 Poland POL
6 h2 r1/2 Phyllis Perkins 26 Great Britain GBR
6 h3 r1/2 Gerda Kraan 27 Netherlands NED
6 h4 r1/2 Gül Çiray 20 Turkey TUR
7 h1 r1/2 Lee Hak-Ja 20 South Korea KOR
7 h3 r1/2 Nicole Goullieux 29 France FRA
AC h2 r1/2 Pat Daniels-Winslow 16 United States USA