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Athletics at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games:

Women's 400 metres

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Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico
Venue(s): University Olympic Stadium, Ciudad de México
Date Started: October 14, 1968
Date Finished: October 16, 1968

Gold: FRA Colette Besson
Silver: GBR Lillian Board
Bronze: URS Nataliya Pechyonkina-Chistyakova

Summary

Great Britain’s Lillian Board was favored based on fast times early in the year. The lead in the final was taken by Jarvis Scott (USA) but she faded at 300 metres and Board took over. In the last 20 metres, France’s Colette Besson pulled up to win the gold medal with Board second. Besson was completely unheralded prior to the competition, but would place second in the 400 at the 1969 European Championships. Britain’s press was somewhat critical of Board, but later had cause to regret that. Within 18 months of the 1968 Olympics, she was diagnosed with cancer and died in December 1970, when she was only 22.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Colette Besson 22 France FRA Gold
2 Lillian Board 19 Great Britain GBR Silver
3 Nataliya Pechyonkina-Chistyakova 22 Soviet Union URS Bronze
4 Janet Simpson 24 Great Britain GBR
5 Aurelia Pentón 27 Cuba CUB
6 Jarvis Scott 21 United States USA
7 Helga Henning 30 West Germany FRG
8 Mirna van der Hoeven-Jansen 20 Netherlands NED
5 h1 r2/3 Esther Stroy 15 United States USA
5 h2 r2/3 Mary Green 24 Great Britain GBR
6 h1 r2/3 Una Morris 21 Jamaica JAM
6 h2 r2/3 Karin Wallgren-Lundgren 24 Sweden SWE
7 h1 r2/3 Ingrīda Verbele 20 Soviet Union URS
7 h2 r2/3 Monique Noirot 27 France FRA
8 h1 r2/3 Joan Fisher 19 Canada CAN
8 h2 r2/3 Lois Drinkwater 17 United States USA
5 h1 r1/3 Enriqueta Basilio 20 Mexico MEX
5 h2 r1/3 Anne Covell 18 Canada CAN
5 h3 r1/3 Tekla Chemabwai 18 Kenya KEN
5 h4 r1/3 Donata Govoni 24 Italy ITA
6 h1 r1/3 Joyce Bennett 23 Australia AUS
6 h2 r1/3 Anna Chmelková 24 Czechoslovakia TCH
6 h3 r1/3 Sandra Brown 22 Australia AUS
6 h4 r1/3 Eeva Haimi 22 Finland FIN
7 h2 r1/3 Antónia Munkácsi 29 Hungary HUN
7 h3 r1/3 Channa Shezifi 24 Israel ISR
7 h4 r1/3 Josefa Vicent 18 Uruguay URU
8 h2 r1/3 Jean Robotham 24 Costa Rica CRC
8 h4 r1/3 Olajumoke Bodunrin 23 Nigeria NGR