Maureen Caird

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Maureen Caird
Medal record
Women's athletics
Olympic Games
Gold 1968 Mexico City 80 m hurdles
Commonwealth Games
Silver 1970 Edinburgh 100 m hurdles

Maureen Caird (born 29 September 1951) is a former Australian track athlete, who specialised in the sprint hurdles. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, she became the youngest-ever individual Olympic athletics champion, at age 17, when she won gold in Mexico City.[1]

Early career[edit]

Born in Cumberland, New South Wales, Caird began competing in athletics as a teenager, trained by the former coach of quadruple Olympic champion Betty Cuthbert, June Ferguson.[2]

Caird competed in several events, but the 80 m hurdles was her best. In 1967 she won both the junior (under 18) 80 metre hurdles and pentathlon at the Australian Championships.

In the 1968 Championships, she defended her junior hurdles crown and also won the Long Jump.[1] Caird also competed in senior events, placing second in both the 80 metres and 100 metres hurdles behind Pam Kilborn who was rated as the world's best female hurdler.[3]

Caird's performances earned her selection in the Australian team to compete at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

International career[edit]

At the Games, Caird, only 17 at the time, was the youngest member of the Australian team. Both Caird and her rival Kilborn made the final, which was held in wet conditions. To the surprise of most observers, Caird crossed the line just ahead of her fellow Australian, in a new world record time of 10.39.[1] This upset made Caird the youngest individual Olympic champion in athletics (at the time) and earned her the world number one ranking.[3]

At the 1970 Commonwealth Games, she finished second behind Kilborn in the 100 m hurdles[1](which had replaced the 80 m internationally). This was despite suffering from glandular fever during the event[4]

Her attempt to defend her Olympic title in 1972 was unsuccessful and she did not make it past the heats.[1]

Caird retired due to stomach pains that were diagnosed as cancer.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Caird, now married as Mrs. Jones,[6] currently lives in New Zealand.[2]

Honours[edit]

Caird was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1986.[7] In 2000, she received an Australian Sports Medal.[8]

References[edit]