As Blankers-Koen reminded me, he said to her: “It is not necessary for me that you are running. But if you don’t run, I’m sure you will mind later. “

Feeling renewed, she won the 200 meters for seven tenths of a second – still the widest edge of any Olympiad – and reached the finish line with her head back, so relaxed that her eyes seemed closed.

An event remained, the 4x100m relay. Blankers-Koen almost lost the race, having gone shopping for a raincoat. Running the anchor leg, he took the baton in fourth place, five meters from the leader, but prevailed on the tape.

In an oral history of the Games, Blankers-Koen said that the disparaging comments of Jack Crump, the manager of the British track and field team who dismissed Blankers-Koen as “too old to reach the grade”, had angered and motivated her. . “Was I too old?” she said. “I would like to show them.”

When Blankers-Koen returned to Amsterdam, he crossed the streets in a carriage drawn by four horses. Her neighbors gave her a bicycle, David Wallechinsky wrote in “The complete book of the Olympics”, so he shouldn’t “have had to run so much”.

She participated in a third Olympics, the 1952 Helsinki Games, but annoyed by painful bubbles, she stopped running the obstacle course after hitting the first two barriers. It was his last major international competition.

In 2003, half a century after Blankers-Koen’s retirement, journalist Kees Koman published a biography – the Dutch title translates to “A queen with man’s legs“- who presented a more complicated portrait of the Olympic star as distant, insecure and successfully consumed. Her daughter was said to say:” I think my mother never loved herself and, conversely, could not give love and friendship if same to other people. “And:” My mother had fun only when she was worshiped. “

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