In the wake of Mary Cain's new American junior and high school 800m record...and also the first American in those categories under 2:00.0, I was trying to remember who the first women under 2:00.0 was and also the first American under 2:00.0?
Also, would like to know the race, circumstance and time of these firsts.
It's one of the things I love about this board...someone out there can always answer these questions...
Sin Kim Dan did it twice (1:59.1 and 1:58.0) in '63 and '64 respectively, but IAAF didn't ratify those marks. Hildegard Falck ran 1:58.45 at the '71 West German championships in Stuttgart, improving Vera Nikolić's official WR of 2:00.5 by a huge chunk, so she was the one who took the WR under 2:00. The first American was '68 Oly champ Madeline Manning-Jackson, who ran 1:59.81 at the '76 Oly Trials in Eugene.
LopenUupunut wrote:Sin Kim Dan did it twice (1:59.1 and 1:58.0) in '63 and '64 respectively, but IAAF didn't ratify those marks. Hildegard Falck ran 1:58.45 at the '71 West German championships in Stuttgart, improving Vera Nikolić's official WR of 2:00.5 by a huge chunk, so she was the one who took the WR under 2:00. The first American was '68 Oly champ Madeline Manning-Jackson, who ran 1:59.81 at the '76 Oly Trials in Eugene.
Yes, I had to look some bits up
Thanks for the contribution, LopenUupunut! One of the things I appreciate about these historical threads is the education it provides. Among the other things I didn't know about this topic, I had never heard of Sin Kim Dan. A bit from wiki:
Ok, I was just reading the wikipedia article getting upset that politics of war had prevented Shin from getting the WR and then ... it turns out that Shin may not have qualified for the womens record in the first place? If so, how would Shin be considered first?
The operative word there is "may" For some or other reason, women's 800 has attracted no end of rumors about various runners being biologically male; rumors aren't evidence, though, and are completely baseless as often as not.
Caster Semenya's gender has been questioned even by IAAF, but she's still the 2009 World Champion. Half the people in the crowd at Helsinki '83 called Kratochvílová "Jarmo", but she still holds the WR. The same logic applies to Sin/Shin: you don't throw her achievements out based on mere rumors, solid evidence is required.
I am afraid I was one of those cheering for "Jarmo" then.
BUT – isn't there one essential difference between her time and both Shin's and Semenya's? Namely, in the 80s all female athletes were routinely gender-tested (on the basis of chromosomes, I think). Hence, nobody could seriously suspect that Kratochvilova is male, however masculine she may have looked.
the sin kim dan 'not being a woman' story feels like it was just simply a viscious story put forward by many people who couldn't stomach the thought of a woman from asia/communist bloc beating the WR. of course, she is an enigma as so little is known about her. there are vague newspaper stories of an old korean man claiming that she was his long-lost son. but i also recall reports that said she got married and had kids. fascinating as she should be one of the great figures of athletics history but because she's from this shadowy regime we know nothing about her and just dismiss her as 'another of those women of dubious gender'. i'm not even sure if shes still alive or not. she had great times at 400m too.
Yeah, I'd be careful about that Wikipedia story. Gender problems need to be confirmed and not just rumours. In one of his earliest editions, David Wallechinsky hoted that Iolanda Balas was suspected of being a man. I pointed out to him that she got married and had children and he later took it out. But those rumours get out there a lot.