Mary Rand

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Mary Rand, 1966

Mary Rand ( Mary Denise Rand, née Bignal ; born February 14, 1940 in Wells , Somerset ) is a former British athlete (long jump) and Olympic champion .

Mary Rand becomes the first British woman to win a gold medal in athletics for her country. A few days after her success, Ann Packer became the second British woman to win gold in the 800-meter run .


She had her first major international appearance, still under her birth name Bignal, at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958 . With 1.61 m she was fifth in the high jump, with 5.97 m in the long jump she won silver behind her English teammate Sheila Hoskin with 6.02 m. A month later she finished seventh in the pentathlon at the European Championships in Stockholm in 1958 .

At the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 , she was the favorite in the long jump, but could only achieve a ninth place. She missed the bronze medal in the 80-meter hurdles by just a tenth of a second in 11.1 seconds.

At the European Championships in Belgrade in 1962 , she won the bronze medal with the 4 x 100 meter relay. She also won bronze in the long jump with a wind-assisted 6.22 m.

At the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo , Japan , Rand won the bronze medal in the 4 x 100 meter relay along with her teammates Janet Simpson , Daphne Arden and Dorothy Hyman . She won silver in the pentathlon between Irina Press (gold) and Galina Bystrowa (bronze), who were competing for the Soviet Union . In the long jump she won the gold medal with the world record distance of 6.76 m in front of Irena Kirszenstein (silver) from Poland and Tatyana Schtschelkanowa (bronze) from Russia . She was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year , UK Sportsman of the Year , that same year .

In Kingston, Jamaica , at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1966 , she won the long jump with 6.36 m. A month later at the European Championships in Budapest in 1966 , she was fourth again in the pentathlon.

After the failure of her first marriage to the rower Sidney Rand, she married the American decathlete Bill Toomey in 1969 , divorced in 1992, married John Reese and now lives in the USA.

Top performances


  • Peter Matthews, Ian Buchanan: The All-Time Greats of British and Irish Sport. Guinness, Enfield 1995, ISBN 0-85112-678-2 .

Web links

Commons : Mary Rand  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files