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Fanny Blankers Koen - Famous Athlete


Full Name: Francina Blankers-Koen; known as Fanny Blankers-Koen

Date of Birth: 29 th August, 1946

Died on: 25 th January, 2004

Country: The Netherlands

Sport involved in: Athletics

Achievements made:

  • Olympic Gold Medal in 100 meter and 200 meter sprint in the 1948 London Olympics
  • Olympic Gold Medal in 80 meter hurdle race in the 1948 London Olympics
  • Olympic Gold Medal in 4x100 meter relay race in the 1948 London Olympics
  • Winner of five European titles between 1946 and 1950
  • Winner of 58 Dutch championships
  • Setter of 16 world records at eight different events - 100 yards sprint, 100meter sprint, 200meter sprint, high hurdles, high jump, long jump, pentathlon, and 4x110 yard relay
  • Chosen “Female Athlete of the Century” in 1999 by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
  • Career: Fanny Blankers-Koen was an outstanding and legendary all-round athlete from the Netherlands. She started her athletic career in 1935. One year later she participated in the 1936 Summer Games. The international competition was hampered during the World War II. However, during that period, Fanny Koen made several world records in events like long jump, high jump, sprint and hurdles. The 1946 European Championships held in Oslo was the first major international event after the World War II. In the competition, Fanny Blankers-Koen won gold medals in the 80 meter hurdle event and 4x 100 meter relay event. She became the leading athlete in the Netherlands in 1947. In that year, she won 6 national titles. After her experience in Oslo, Fanny decided to compete in only four events in the 1948 London Olympics. The events chosen by her were 100 meter sprint, 200 meter sprint, 80 meter hurdle race and 4x 100 meter relay race. In the 1948 Summer Olympics, Fanny Blankers-Koen won gold medals in all the four events she had competed in. She became the first woman to win four gold medals in the Olympics. Fanny was also the first woman to win four gold medals in a single Olympics. She accomplished her Olympic titles as a mother of two children. For this reason, Fanny was given the name-“Flying Housewife”. She was also referred to as “Amazing Fanny” by the international press. In 1950 European Championships in Brussels, Fanny won the titles in the 100 meter sprint, 200 meter sprint and the 80 meter hurdle race, all with large margins. Fanny participated in her third Olympics in 1952, which was held in Helsinki. In spite of being in a good shape, she could not win any title in the last major competition of her athletic career. In 1955, on 7 th August, Fanny got the last victory of her career in the shot put event. It was her 58 th Dutch title. In the year, she retired from professional athletics. After her athletic career, Fanny Blankers-Koen remained the team leader of the Dutch athletics team from 1958 European Championships to 1968 Summer Games. The international athletics event, the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games was established in 1981. In 1999, Fanny was elected the “Female Athlete of the Century” by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The legendary athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen died on 25 th January in 2004 at the age of 85.

    Performance at the Olympics: Fanny Blankers-Koen made her Olympic debut in the 1936 Summer Games as a high jumper. Then she was known as Fanny Koen. In her next appearance in the 1948 London Olympics at the age of 30 she won four gold medals. Fanny won in the 100 meter sprint, 200 meter sprint, 80 meter hurdle and 4x100 meter relay events. In the first competition of 100 meter sprint, Fanny set the fastest time in the semi-finals. She finished the final in just 11.9 seconds and became the winner. Thus Fanny Blankers-Koen became the first Dutch athlete to win an Olympic title. Fanny won the 80 meter hurdle race beating her chief opponent Maureen Gardner. Both Fanny and Gardner finished the race in 11.2 seconds. However, Fanny was declared the winner. Blankers-Koen failed to start in the semi-finals of the 200 meter sprint. However, she qualified for the final. In the final, Fanny reached the finishing line in 24.4 seconds. The 4 × 100 meter final was held on the final day of the track and field competitions. In that event also the Dutch team won the gold medal beating the Australian team. Fanny Blankers-Koen participated in the Olympics for the third time in 1952.

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