Farewell Fanny Blankers-Koen - Female Athlete Of The Century

THE HAGUE, Jan 25 (AFP) - Dutch athletics legend Fanny Blankers-Koen has died in a nursing home aged 85after suffering from serious heart and brain problems over the past few years, her daughter revealed on Sunday.

Blankers-Koen, known as the ‘flying housewife’ and whowas named athlete of the 20th century by the sport’sgoverning body the International Association ofAthletics Federations (IAAF) in 1999, won four goldmedals at the 1948 Olympics in London.
She won the 100m, 200m, 80m hurdles and the 4x100mrelay in London and is the only female athlete to havewon four Olympic titles at the same games.
However as she later confessed her remarkable haulalmost never came about.
Shortly before the Games my children were reallymissing me,'' she said referring to the two children shehad with her husband and coach Jan Blankers during WorldWar II. I wanted to leave London and go back to them. I wascrying in the changing rooms. But my husband got memotivated again, assuring me I would never forgivemyself if I opted to withdraw,’’ added Blankers, whowould almost certainly have won more than four titles ifshe had been allowed to compete in more than threeindividual events as the winning marks in the long jumpand high jump were well below her world records.
She went on to win three European titles at the 1950championships and held 16 world records as well as winning 58 national titlesmainly in the sprints but also in long jump andpentathlon.
Athletics was not her first sport she took up havingtried swimming, gymnastics and fencing but she took uptrack and field on the request of her father.
Her life changed when she met Blankers. He firstbecame her coach and then her husband during World WarII and she even carried on training when she waspregnant with her two children.
The blonde’s first experience of the Olympics came inthe infamous 1936 Games held in Berlin where shefinished fifth in the 4x100m relay and sixth in the longjump.
She showed her increasing prowess when she broke herfirst world record in the 100 yards in 1938 running11sec dead and during the war set a new mark in the 80yard hurdles, high jump and a 100 yard mark of 10.80sec.
She set new world marks in the pentathlon aged 33 in1951 and a national title in the shot in 1955 - her lastOlympics in Helsinki in 1952 ended ignominiously whenshe fell in the 80 yard hurdles.
Her funeral will take place on Thursday.

THE HAGUE, Jan 25 (AFP) - Factfile on Dutch athleticslegend Fanny Blankers-Koen after she died aged 85 onSunday:

Family Name: Blankers-Koen
First name: Francina (Fanny)
Nicknames: Flying housewife, Flying Dutchwoman
Born: April 26 1918
Birthplace: Baarn (Netherlands)
Died: January 25 2004 at Hoofdorp (Netherlands)

Athletics disciplines contested: 100m/200m, hurdles,long jump, high jump
World records: 16 (100m, 200m, 80m high hurdles, highjump, long jump, pentathlon, 4x110 yards relay)

Olympic Games record:
100m: 1st (1948)
200m: 1st (1948)
80m hurdles: 1st (1948)
4x100m relay: 1st (1948)

European championships:
100m: 1st (1950)
200m: 1st (1950)
80m hurdles: 1st (1946, 1950)
4x100m relay: 1st (1946)

National titles: 58