Discus star Wyludda finally rises to the occasion
Germany's Ilke Wyludda had been one of the world’s finest discus throwers for nearly a decade. But when it came to the big competitions, she had often failed to produce anything like her best performances. She had won two European titles but at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, she failed even to win a place in the final. She had not won a world championship title in four attempts, despite almost always starting as favourite. She was either very unlucky, or had an inability to deal with pressure.
Naturally, going into Atlanta, there were question marks over her. Had she finally found a way to crack her run of disappointment? She delivered the answer in emphatic style. After so many years of not showing her best, Wyludda seemed to take to the challenge and the pressure in Atlanta with absolute gusto. She set aside all of the questions and setbacks and proved to the watching world, and to her fellow athletes, that she was the woman to beat.Getty
Her first throw landed beyond the 68m mark, giving her a lead of more than 3 metres over the rest of the field. In the second round, she threw 69.66m and her next three attempts all went at least 66.70m., Nobody could get anywhere near those distances. In fact, any of Wyludda's first five throws would have been good enough for victory and she won by the biggest margin seen in an Olympic discus competition in more than four decades.
Wyludda had a rather unexpected explanation for her dramatic change of fortunes. As she celebrated her gold medal, she attributed her success to a decision to give up ice cream for the six weeks running up to the Games!
She competed again at the Games four years later in Sydney, finishing seventh. And 12 years after that, she competed in the London Paralympics, having had a leg amputated due to infection, thus becoming the first German athlete to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.