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27 juil. 1952
Helsinki 1952

Barbara Jones plus jeune médaillée d'or d'athlétisme

Lorsqu’arrive le 4x100m féminin, l’Australie semble bien partie pour s’imposer. Constellée de vedettes, elle vient de battre le record du monde en série. On trouve ainsi dans ses rangs Marjorie Jackson, qui a réalisé le doublé du sprint 100m-200m, mais également deux autres athlètes qui ont participé à la finale du 100m : Shirley Strickland, qui a obtenu de l'argent après avoir été sacrée championne olympique sur 80m haies, et Winsome Cripps, quatrième du 100m et privée de podium pour une fraction de seconde.

After the first two legs, the Australians had already established a commanding lead, and Cripps preserved their advantage around the bottom bend by Cripps. The disaster struck. As she passed the baton to anchor Jackson, her knee rose up at the wrong moment, hit the baton out of Jackson's hand and it crashed to the floor.

Jackson had the presence of mind to catch it as it bounced up off the ground, but by then the field had passed them. Australia could finish only fifth and, as the USA took gold.

Running the second leg for the US quartet was Barbara Jones, who at just 15 years and 123 days old became the youngest person to win a gold medal in Olympic track and field. Jones drew inspiration from the legendary American athlete Jesse Owens, who had visited the housing estate where she lived, and she vowed to fulfil her ability in the same way Owens had so spectacularly fulfilled his own.

Jones missed the 1956 Games but was part of the relay team that won the Olympic title in Rome in 1960. She later worked in sports administration, notably for the Paralympic movement.

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