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Zola Budd-Pieterse
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    (May 26, 1966- )
    Competed in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles
    1986 World Cross Country champion
    Known for running barefoot
    She abandoned a university education to concentrate on athletic training.
    Though she beat Mary Decker Tabb Slaney’s 5 km (about 3¼ miles) world record in January 1984 by seven seconds, it was not officially recognized. Policies effectively blacklisted her country of South Africa due to its history of apartheid.
    As if that weren’t bad enough, she was booed during the race, where she was able to continue running to a seventh-place finish and Decker was escorted off the track following a second collision. Although obviously accidental, it earned her the villain tag.
    She applied for British citizenship on very short order, citing that her grandfather was British. With the support of the Daily Mail publication, and despite intense controversy, it was quickly granted.
    Citing the events of the final 3 km run (about 1¾ miles) at the 1984 Olympics,
    Her autobiography stated all female runners in the 1984 Olympics 3K race had to display to the officials that their shoe spikes conformed. The official got a good laugh when she showed her bare feet with white plasters (padding) on the toes.
    She holds records at junior and senior levels for both Great Britain and South Africa.
    When representing Great Britain in 1985, her time of 14:48.07 was nearly 13 seconds faster than her 1984 (unofficial) record for South Africa.
    Ironically, Mary Decker Tabb Slaney was her childhood heroine!

Credit: Cool It All Right?

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