Jelimo heads into London 2012 Olympics with Kratochvílová’s ghost in tow
Pamela Jelimo is an athlete who is not new to records but as far as the race time in her event, the 800m sprint, is concerned Jarmila Kratochvílová’s ghost remains ever more ominous to ensure a new record remains elusive.
Kratochvílová is a former sprinter and middle distance runner from Czech Republic who has haunted many an athlete in the competition and defied their attempt to break her record with obstinacy.
The circumstances of the then 32 year- old’s record are even more awesome, having entered a one-off 800 m race in Munich back in 1983, reportedly as a training exercise, she went on to break the world record with a run of 1:53.28. She entered the 800m World Championships the same year for the first time and won gold.
In 1984, a CNN journalist wrote this of her:
“The strength it takes to shear steel is what carried Kratochvilova to women’s world records in the 400 (47.99) and 800 (1:53.28) meters last summer and to gold medals in both events at the World Championships in Helsinki,” wrote Kenny Moore.
Jelimo on her part is the current holder of the Olympic 800m gold medal and the first woman to ever win an Olympic gold for Kenya (a feat she achieved when she was barely 18.)
She was also the first Kenyan woman to win the Golden League Jackpot which cast her into instant fame back in 2008.
Her time of 1:57.71 that she recorded during her romp to victory on her Olympic 800m debut in 2008 and her subsequent wins have always fallen shy of her nemesis’ record.
Speaking to journalists shortly after qualifying for the Olympics this year, Jelimo exuded confidence that her fortunes are going to improve during the games and will strive to at least bring back a gold medal.
“In the Olympics, it is very tough everyone is a champion. I want to work very hard to cross the line before everyone,” she said.
Although some of Kratochvílová’s critics have adamantly held that her record was achieved under performance enhancing circumstances, her time is still the world record, and is currently the longest standing individual world record in Track and Field.
Many sports pundits have also pointed out that Kratochvílová only outdid herself during training and never really peaked to her full potential in official competitions, despite winning gold in some.
If Jelimo breaks Kratochvílová’s record in the 2012 London Olympics, she might become an instant Olympic legend whose record might begin haunting others in equal longevity.
Nevertheless, an Olympic gold medal devoid of any record breaking time, will still earn Jelimo the record of being the first female athlete to win the 800m race back to back.