Mary Decker gets tripped up three laps from gold on this date in 1984


Aug. 10, 1984

The United States’ Mary Decker was the early favorite to win the Olympics’ inaugural women’s 3,000-meter race in Los Angeles.

Decker, world champion in the event heading into the Games, held a steady pace and led the pack for the early going.

But with a little more than three laps to go, Decker collapsed onto the infield of the track after her feet got tangled with Zola Budd, an 18-year-old barefoot South African who was competing for Great Britain, knocking Decker out of the race with an injured left hip.

As boos rained on Budd from throughout the stadium, trainers came to Decker’s attendance as she lay on her back in pain and the race carried on without her.

Budd faded to a seventh-place finish and was later disqualified.