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Encyclopedia > Mary Decker

Mary Slaney' (born Mary Teresa Decker August 4, 1958) is an American former track and field athlete, who holds seven American records in her sport. In 1981 she married marathon runner Ron Tabb. The couple divorced two years later and on January 1, 1985 Decker married discus thrower Richard Slaney. She is largely infamous in Europe for what some perceived to be poor sportsmanship and for refusal to apologize after her "overdramatic" and self caused fall in the 1984 Olympics. August 4 is the 216th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (217th in leap years), with 149 days remaining. ... Year 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Athletics, also known as track and field or track and field athletics, is a collection of sport events. ... 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Modern-day marathon runners Runners in ancient Greece. ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Statue of discus thrower in Botanic Garden, Copenhagen, Denmark For alternate meanings, see Discus. ...

Contents

Early career

Making her international track debut as a pigtailed, 89-pound (40 kg) fourteen-year-old girl, "Little Mary Decker" became one of the most famous track and field competitors of her era. She won international acclaim in 1973 with wins in the 800 meter at a US-Soviet meet in Minsk. By 1974, Decker was the world record holder at 2:26.7 for 1000 meters, 2:02.4 for 880 yards, and 2:01.8 for 800 meters. Motto: Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь! (Transliterated: Proletarii vsekh stran, soedinyaytes!) Translation: Workers of the world, unite!) Anthem: The Internationale (1922–1944) Hymn of the Soviet Union (1944–1991) Capital Moscow Language(s) Russian (the de facto official language), 14 other official languages Government Socialist republic Leaders  - 1922–1924 Vladimir Lenin  - 1924–1953 Joseph Stalin... Location Location of Minsk, shown within the Minsk Voblast Government Country Subdivision Belarus Minsk Founded 1067 Mayor Mikhail Pavlov Geographical characteristics Area  - City 305. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Career peak

In 1982 Decker set six world records, at distances ranging from the mile to 10 000 meters. The following year she achieved a "Decker Double", winning both the 1500 meter and 3000 meter events at the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland. In 1982, she received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States, and Sports Illustrated magazine named her Sportsperson of the Year for 1983. 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Middle distance track events are track races longer than sprints up to (and arguably including) 5000 meters. ... Long-distance track event races requires runners to balance their energy. ... The inaugural World Championships in Athletics were run under the auspices of the International Association of Athletics Federations and were held at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, Finland between August 7 and August 14. ... Founded 1550 Country Finland Province Southern Finland Region Uusimaa Sub-region Helsinki Area[1] - Of which land - Rank 185. ... The James E. Sullivan Award is awarded annually by the Amateur Athletic Union to the top amateur athlete in the United States. ... The first issue of Sports Illustrated, August 16, 1954, showing Milwaukee Braves star Eddie Mathews at bat in Milwaukee County Stadium. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Decker was heavily favored to win a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics, held at Los Angeles. In the 3000 meters final, Zola Budd, running barefoot half a stride ahead of Decker, moved to the inside lane, inadvertently crowding Decker, who collided with Budd and fell spectacularly to the curb. Decker's hip was injured and she was unable to resume the race. She was carried from the track by her future husband. At a press conference she said that Budd was to blame for the collision. (In track races it is generally the trailing athlete's responsibility to avoid contact with the runner ahead; on the other hand, it is an accepted convention among most distance runners that the leader should be a full stride ahead before cutting in.) Track officials initially disqualified Budd for obstruction, but she was reinstated just one hour later once officials had viewed films of the race. Music sample: Olympic Fanfare and Theme ( file info) — composed by John Williams for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles Problems listening to the file? See media help. ... Nickname: City of Angels Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates: State California County Los Angeles County Incorporated April 4, 1850 Government  - Type mayor-council  - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D)  - City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo  - Governing body City Council Area  - City  465. ... Middle distance track events are track races longer than sprints up to (and arguably including) 5000 meters. ... Zola Budd running a cross-country race barefoot Zola Pieterse, still better known by her maiden name of Zola Budd (born May 26, 1966 in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State in South Africa), is a former Olympic track and field competitor who, within a period of less than three years, twice... Bones of the Hip In anatomy, the hip is the bony projection of the femur, known as the greater trochanter, and the overlying muscle and fat. ... A member of Liberal Democratic Party Taizo Sugimura in an apology news conference in Japan A news conference or press conference is a media event in which newsmakers invite journalists to hear them speak and, most often, ask questions. ...


As an example of the uncompromising self preserving attitude that her version of this event would form, Decker is reported to have initially blamed her fall in the race with Zola Budd due to "being spiked"- by the runner who famously ran barefoot. In the August 20, 1984 edition of Sports Illustrated the commentary was the following: August 20 is the 232nd day of the year (233rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The first issue of Sports Illustrated, August 16, 1954, showing Milwaukee Braves star Eddie Mathews at bat in Milwaukee County Stadium. ...

"That last brutal kilometer would begin in about 300 meters, on the backstretch. Now, as Decker relaxed, gathering herself, the slight, pale, barefoot, 92-pound form of Budd again came even with her. Budd had been outside Decker's right shoulder almost from the start, and Decker knew it. They had bumped elbows at 500 meters, a result of Budd's wide-swinging arm action, and Decker had shot her a sharp look. Budd had sensed the slowing pace and didn't like it. Her training and temperament combine to make her natural race one of constantly increasing pressure. She and her coach, Pieter Labuschagne, knew that she couldn't kick with a fresh Decker or (Maricica) Puica. If she was to run her best in this Olympic final, the pace would have to go faster. So she passed Decker on the turn, just after, 1,600 meters. Decker felt her uncomfortably close. "She was cutting in on the turn, without being near passing," Decker would say. By the end of the turn, Budd appeared to have enough margin to cut in without interfering with Decker's stride, but instead she hung wide, on the outside of Lane 1, as they came into the stretch. Decker was near the rail, a yard behind Budd. Budd's teammate, Wendy Sly, had come up to third, off Budd's shoulder, and Puica was fourth, tucked in tight behind Decker, waiting. Decker sensed Budd drifting to the inside. "She tried to cut in without being, basically, ahead," Decker would say. But Decker didn't do what a seasoned middle-distance runner would have done. She didn't reach out to Budd's shoulder to let her know she was there, too close behind for Budd to move to the pole. Instead, Decker shortened her stride for a couple of steps. There was contact. Decker's right thigh grazed Budd's left foot. Budd took five more strides, slightly off balance. Trying to regain control, she swayed in slightly to the left. Decker's right foot struck Budd's left calf, low, just above the Achilles tendon. Budd's left leg shot out, and she was near falling. But Decker was falling, tripped by that leg all askew. "To keep from pushing her, I fell," she would say. She reached out after Budd, inadvertently tearing the number from her back and went headlong across the rail onto the infield."

Decker returned to competition in January 1985, winning the Sunkist Invitational Indoor 2000 meters race, also in Los Angeles. Asked to apologize for her comments about Budd, she answered: "I don't feel that I have any reason to apologize. I was wronged, like anyone else in that situation." Maricica Puica is a Romanian former middle distance athlete. ... Middle distance track events are track races longer than sprints up to (and arguably including) 5000 meters. ...


Decker and Budd next met in July 1985, in a 3000 meters race at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London, England. Decker won the race, and Budd finished in fourth place. After the race, the two women shook hands and made up. Decker later went on record as claiming that she was unfairly robbed of the LA 3000 meter Gold Medal by Budd, although many track experts doubt whether she would have beaten eventual winner Maricica Puica. The National Sports Centre The National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace in south London is a large sports centre and athletics track. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London (de facto) Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2006 est. ... Maricica Puica is a Romanian former middle distance athlete. ...


Decker had a magnificent season in 1985, winning twelve prestigious mile and 3000 meters races in the European athletics calendar. She sat out the 1986 season to give birth to her only child, daughter Ashley Lynn (born May 30, 1986), but missed the 1987 season through injury, failed to medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea and did not qualify for the 1992 Games. May 30 is the 150th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (151st in leap years). ... 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The 1988 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad, were held in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. ... Seoul is the capital of South Korea and was, until 1945, the capital of all of Korea. ... The 1992 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXV Olympiad, were held in 1992 in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. ...


Controversy

In 1996, at the age of 37, as she qualified for the 5000 meters at the Atlanta Olympics, Decker became involved in the greatest controversy of her life. A urine test taken in June at the Olympic Trials showed a testosterone to epitestosterone (T/E) ratio greater than the allowable maximum of six to one. Disputes over that test result went on for years and the test remains controversial. A popular running distance also known as a 5 km, colloquially five-K. This distance is typical for all types of running races; from cross-country, to the road, to the track. ... The 1996 Summer Olympics, formally known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and informally known as the Centennial Olympics, were held in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. ... A urinalysis (or UA) is an array of tests performed on urine and one of the most common methods of medical diagnosis. ... Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group. ... Epitestosterone is a natural steroid, an inactive isomer of the hormone testosterone. ...


Decker and her lawyers contended that the T/E ratio test is unreliable for women, especially women in their late 30s or older who are taking birth control pills. (In the meantime, Decker was eliminated in the heats at the Olympics.) An International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) arbitration panel eventually ruled that it unnecessary to show that a T/E ratio was high because of a banned substance; the mere fact that the ratio was over the allowable maximum was enough. USA Track and Field (USATF) sided with Decker. The combined oral contraceptive pill, often referred to as the Pill, is a combination of an estrogen (oestrogen) and a progestin (progestogen), taken by mouth to inhibit normal fertility. ... The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is the international governing body for the sport of athletics (known in the US as track and field). It was founded in 1912 at its first Congress in Stockholm, Sweden by representatives from 17 national athletics federations as the International Amateur Athletics Federation. ... USA Track and Field is the authority on track and field events within the United States. ...


In June, 1997, the IAAF banned Decker from competition. In September, a USATF panel reinstated her. The IAAF cleared her to compete but took the case to arbitration. In April, 1999, the arbitration panel ruled against her, after which the IAAF stripped her of a silver medal she had won in the 1500 meters at the 1997 World Indoor Championships. Arbitration is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts, wherein the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons (the arbitrators or arbitral tribunal), by whose decision (the award) they agree to be bound. ... The 6th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics were held at the Paris-Bercy Omnisports Stadium in Paris, France between March 7 and March 9, 1997. ...


Decker filed suit against both the IAAF and the U.S. Olympic Committee which administered the test, arguing that the test is flawed and cannot distinguish between androgens caused by the use of banned substances and androgens resulting from the use of birth control pills. The court ruled that it had no jurisdiction, a decision which was upheld on appeal. For USOC in telephony, see Universal Service Ordering Code. ... Androgen is the generic term for any natural or synthetic compound, usually a steroid hormone, that stimulates or controls the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics in vertebrates by binding to androgen receptors. ...


Later life

In 2000, at the age of 40, Decker again attempted to return to the Olympics, but failed to qualify.


In 2003, Decker was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame & Museum in 2005 as well as being honored as one of the Rocky Mountains' greatest athletes ever. Confectionary Company, see Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. ...


External links

  • USA Track and Field Hall of Fame - Mary Slaney
Preceded by
Martina Navratilova
United Press International
Athlete of the Year

1985
Succeeded by
Heike Drechsler

  Results from FactBites:
 
Mary Decker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (753 words)
Mary Slaney (born Mary Teresa Decker August 4, 1958) is an American Track and Field athlete, who holds seven American records in her sport.
Decker's hip was injured and she was unable to resume the race.
Decker later went on record as claiming that she was unfairly robbed of the LA 3000 meter Gold Medal by Budd, although many track experts doubt whether she would have beaten eventual winner Maricica Puica.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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