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Athletics at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games:

Women's 3,000 metres

Athletics at the 1984 Summer Games: Next Summer Games


Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
Date Started: August 8, 1984
Date Finished: August 10, 1984

Gold: ROU Maricica Puică
Silver: GBR Wendy Sly
Bronze: CAN Lynn Williams


The heavy favorite in this event was America’s [Mary Decker] who had shocked the Europeans when she won the 1,500 and 3,000 at the inaugural World Championships in 1983. But Decker was not running as well in 1984, and she elected to drop out of the 1,500 after finishing second at the Olympic Trials, deciding to concentrate on the 3,000. Her biggest challenge was expected to come from Romania’s [Maricica Puică], who had been the world best in this event in 1981. Much of the pre-race hype, however, focused on South African [Zola Budd], an 18-year-old prodigy who had been ranked #1 in the world in 1983 in the 5,000 metres. Budd also ran barefooted, which added to her allure. The problem was that in 1984 South Africa was not affiliated with the IOC, having been banned in 1968 because of apartheid and the fact that South Africa would not allow blacks to compete equally in sports. But Budd had an out. Her father’s father was British so she could legally apply for citizenship there if she set up residence in Great Britain. A few months before the Olympics she and her parents moved to Britain and shortly thereafter, she was granted British citizenship.

The stage was set for a top race, and all three runners made the final easily. In the final, Decker led the field thru the first 1,000. At 1,700 metres, she and Budd collided and Decker fell to the track. She had injured her hip and was unable to continue, crying on the infield, as the field continued. Budd was shaken, as Decker had been her idol, and she was further shaken when the American crowd booed her mercilessly throughout the race. Puică and [Wendy Sly] (GBR) went to the fore just before the bell and Budd could not respond. Puică took the lead on the final backstretch and won quite comfortably, with Sly holding on for the silver medal. Budd would finish seventh. After the race, Budd tried to apologize to Decker, who was quite angry, and ungraciously refused her apology. Budd was initially disqualified for the incident but after review of race tapes, it was determined that she was not at fault and her place was allowed to stand.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Maricica Puică 34 Romania ROU Gold OR
2 Wendy Sly 24 Great Britain GBR Silver
3 Lynn Williams 24 Canada CAN Bronze
4 Cindy Bremser 31 United States USA
5 Cornelia Bürki 30 Switzerland SUI
6 Aurora Cunha 25 Portugal POR
7 Zola Budd-Pieterse 18 Great Britain GBR
8 Joan Hansen 26 United States USA
9 Dianne Zorn-Rodger 27 New Zealand NZL
10 Agnese Possamai 31 Italy ITA
AC Brigitte Kraus 27 West Germany FRG
AC Mary Decker-Slaney 25 United States USA
4 h2 r1/2 Albertina Machado 22 Portugal POR
5 h2 r1/2 Donna Gould 18 Australia AUS
5 h3 r1/2 Monica Joyce 26 Ireland IRL
6 h1 r1/2 Jane Furniss-Shields 23 Great Britain GBR
6 h2 r1/2 Eva Ernström 22 Sweden SWE
6 h3 r1/2 Geri Fitch 30 Canada CAN
7 h1 r1/2 Hellen Kimaiyo 15 Kenya KEN
7 h2 r1/2 Annette Sergent-Palluy 21 France FRA
7 h3 r1/2 Marcianne Mukamurenzi 24 Rwanda RWA
8 h1 r1/2 Róisín Smyth 20 Ireland IRL
8 h2 r1/2 Sue French-Lee 24 Canada CAN
8 h3 r1/2 Geeta Zutshi 27 India IND
9 h1 r1/2 Raida Abdallah Bader 19 Jordan JOR
9 h2 r1/2 Liliana Góngora 18 Argentina ARG
9 h3 r1/2 Kriscia García 20 El Salvador ESA
10 h2 r1/2 Mwinga Mwanjala 24 Tanzania TAN
AC h3 r1/2 Mónica Regonesi 23 Chile CHI
AC h3 r1/2 Rosa Mota 26 Portugal POR