Kamila Skolimowska

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Kamila Skolimowska
Kamila Skolimowska 2008.jpg
Medal record
Women's athletics
Olympic Games
Gold 2000 Sydney Hammer throw
European Championships
Silver 2002 Munich Hammer throw
Bronze 2006 Gothenburg Hammer throw
Universiade
Gold 2005 Izmir Hammer throw

Kamila Skolimowska (4 November 1982 – 18 February 2009) was a Polish hammer thrower. She was known for her gold medal in the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics, which made her the youngest Olympic hammer champion, as well as for her two medals from the European Championships. Her personal best throw, and former Polish record, was 76.83 metres, achieved in May 2007 in Doha. She died on the 18 February 2009 in Vila Real de Santo António, Portugal during a Polish national team training camp.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

She was born in Warsaw.[2] Skolimowska first made herself known at age fifteen, when she won the hammer throw event at the 1997 European Junior Championships; the first time hammer throw was staged at the European Junior Championships.[3] She was actually fourteen years and 264 days at the time,[2] and had become Polish national champion[4] and record holder the year before. Her personal best in 1997 was 63.48 metres.[2] She improved her personal best to 66.62 metres in 1999. She also finished seventh at the 1998 European Championships, won the 1999 World Youth Championships and finished twenty-first at the 1999 World Championships.[2]

Olympic champion[edit]

At the 2000 Summer Olympics she won a gold medal in the hammer throw, with a new personal best throw of 71.16 metres. Gold medal favourite Mihaela Melinte was disqualified shortly before the start of the qualifying round for failing a drugs test.[5] At age 17 years and 331 days, Skolimowska became the youngest Olympic hammer champion.[2][6] As it was the first time that the women's hammer throw was staged at the Olympics, she also set an Olympic record, which stood for four years. She received the Polish Golden Cross of Merit for her achievement.

Career after the Olympic gold[edit]

In the 2001 season, she finished fourth at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, with a throw of 68.05 metres. One month later she improved her national record to 71.71 metres, which was enough to win the IAAF Grand Prix Final in Melbourne. In 2002 she took her first championships medal since the Olympic victory, at the 2002 European Championships. Throwing 72.46 metres to take the silver medal behind Olga Kuzenkova, she almost improved on her 72.60 result achieved in June in Bydgoszcz. Toward the end of the season she finished fifth at the 2002 World Cup.[2]

Skolimowska did not set new national records in 2003 and 2004. In 2003 she finished eighth both at the 2003 World Championships and the 2003 World Athletics Final. In the final round of the hammer throw at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens she recorded a season best of 72.57 metres, placing fifth overall in the event. She again finished fifth at the 2004 World Athletics Final.[2]

New records[edit]

In July 2005 Skolimowska improved her national record to 74.27 metres, the result being achieved in Madrid. Exactly one month later she won the gold medal at the Universiade, four days after finishing seventh at the 2005 World Championships. At the 2005 World Athletics Final she finished second. In 2006 Skolimowska improved her national record again; to 75.29 as she won the 2006 World Cup meet in September in Athens. The record crowned a successful year, with a bronze medal at the 2006 European Championships and a second place at the 2006 World Athletics Final earlier in the season. In 2007 Skolimowska improved with more than a metre, throwing 76.83 in May at the Super Grand Prix meet in Doha. She finished fourth at both the 2007 World Championships and the 2007 World Athletics Final.[2]

2008, however, was an unsuccessful year. Her season's best was only 73.50, achieved in June in Warsaw. In the Olympic competition, she did progress from the qualifying round, but failed to register a valid mark in the final, ending in last place.[2]

Death[edit]

Skolimowska died unexpectedly at the age of 26 during a training session in Portugal. The cause of her death (originally reported in many media as likely a heart attack) was confirmed by autopsy to be pulmonary embolism.[7] Concerns were raised that the problem could have been detected earlier if a doctor had been accompanying the team.

Competition record[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  Poland
1997 European Junior Championships Ljubljana, Slovenia 1st 59.72 m
1998 European Championships Budapest, Hungary 7th 62.68 m
1999 World Youth Championships Bydgoszcz, Poland 1st 63.94 m
World Championships Seville, Spain 21st (q) 50.38 m
2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia 1st 71.16 m
World Junior Championships Santiago, Chile 20th (q) 51.84 m
2001 World Championships Edmonton, Canada 4th 68.05 m
Goodwill Games Brisbane, Australia 1st 70.31 m
2002 European Championships Munich, Germany 2nd 72.46 m
2003 European U23 Championships Bydgoszcz, Poland 1st 71.38 m
World Championships Paris, France 8th 68.39 m
2004 Olympic Games Athens, Greece 5th 72.57 m
2005 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 7th 68.96 m
Universiade Izmir, Turkey 1st 72.75 m
2006 European Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 3rd 72.58 m
2007 World Championships Osaka, Japan 4th 73.75 m
2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China 12th NM

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kamila Skolimowska nie żyje – TVN24.pl.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kamila Skolimowska profile at IAAF. Retrieved on 28 December 2008.
  3. ^ European Junior Championships (Women) – GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 28 December 2008.
  4. ^ Polish Championships – GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 28 December 2008.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ R.I.P. Sydney OG Hammer Champ Kamila Skolimowska (18 February 2009). Trackandfieldnews.com. Retrieved on 19 February 2009.
  7. ^ Jakobsche, Jerzy, "Pulmonary embolism cause of death of Kamila Skolimowska", AIPS via Polish Press Agency, February 21, 2009.