Olympics

Women’s 800-meter run causes controversy on this day in Olympic history in 1928

The women’s 800 meter race is started at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam.
The women’s 800 meter race is started at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. IOC Olympic Museum

Aug. 12, 1928

The ninth Summer Olympics concluded in Amsterdam, where the United States finished at the top of the leaderboard with 56 medals, including 22 golds.

But like most of the early Olympic Games, this one did not come without controversy.

Several women reportedly collapsed following the 800 meter run, which ultimately resulted in a 32-year ban on Olympic races longer than 200 meters for women.

The ban was lifted at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, where the women’s 800 meter race was reintroduced.

Seven additional mid-distance and distance events have since been added for the women’s field: the 1,500 meters (1972), 3,000 meters (1984), marathon (1984), 10K (1988), 10K walk (1992; replaced by 20K walk in 2000), 5K (1996), and 3,000 meter steeplechase (2008).

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