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Digital Subscriptions > Athletics Weekly > 28/07/2016 > YELLOW PERIL

YELLOW PERIL

MARICICA PUICA WON OLYMPIC GOLD IN A RACE BEST REMEMBERED FOR AN ATHLETE WHO FELL, WRITE JASON HENDERSON AND NATALIA DONETS

HE WOMEN’S 3000m at the 1984 Olympics is famous for Zola Budd’s tangle with Mary Decker – a collision that left the American on the floor and out of the race. In the melee, Maricica Puica sped to victory and now, more than 30 years later, insists she would have won even if Decker had not fallen.

“Even if Mary would have continued the race, she wouldn’t have won it either way,” says Puica in a new book out this week called Collision Course. “Mary wasn’t in good shape. She wasn’t prepared.

Los Angeles 1984: Maricica Puica (left) out-sprinted Wendy Sly for gold in the 3000m after Mary Decker had fallen after a mid-race collision with Zola Budd

I’m convinced that she did not rise up to continue because she understood that she couldn’t do anything about the final outcome. I was in such good shape that I was ready for a 3000m world record.”

The race was billed by the media as a head-to-head between Decker and Budd. The American was the golden girl of American track and field, reigning world champion and multiple world record-holder and had grown up in Los Angeles, whereas Budd was a teenage prodigy wearing hastily-organised British colours after controversially switching countries from South Africa and, famously, no shoes on her feet.

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ACTION 6 MÜLLER ANNIVERSARY GAMES Kendra Harrison sets world record and Laura Muir breaks GB 1500m mark in London 24 WORLD UNDER-20 CHAMPS Konrad Bukowiecki and Neeraj Chopra throw global junior bests at Bydgoszcz SPOTLIGHT 34 WHERE ARE THEY NOW? What happened to Maricica Puica, winner of the Decker-Budd 1984 Olympic 3000m? NEWS 42 Brits looking good for Olympics 46 Athlete alters holiday plans to go to Rio 48 Andy Baddeley not yet set to quit PERFORMANCE 50 Sports science news 52 Athlete Insight – Rob Mullett 54 The psychological pressures for Rio athletes 56 Products – summer gear TALKING POINT 38 World Junior representative Emily Dudgeon on keeping a lid on the teen dropout rate 40 Mel Watman laments the IOC’s decision not to ban Russia from the Rio Games RESULTS & FIXTURES 58 Results round-up 76 England Champs & Inter-Counties preview 77 What’s On – fixtures guide REGULARS 74 QUIZ CORNER 82 DIP FINISH

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