Thelma Hopkins (athlete)

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Thelma Hopkins
Personal information
Full nameThelma Elizabeth Hopkins
Born (1936-03-16) 16 March 1936 (age 88)
Kingston upon Hull, England
Medal record
Women's athletics
Representing  Great Britain
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1956 Melbourne High jump
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 1954 Bern High jump
Representing  Northern Ireland
British Empire and Commonwealth Games
Gold medal – first place 1954 Vancouver High jump

Thelma Elizabeth Hopkins (born 16 March 1936) is a Northern Irish athlete, who competed in the high and the long jump.

On 5 May 1956 she broke the world record in high jump in Belfast with a jump of 1.74 metres, breaking the record of 1.73 metres set by Aleksandra Chudina of the USSR on 22 May 1954. Her record was broken on 14 July 1956 in Bucharest by Iolanda Balaș of Romania.[1]

Her achievement in breaking the world record is commemorated by a plaque in Cherryvale Playing Fields, South Belfast.

Hopkins was born in Kingston upon Hull. She competed for Great Britain in the 1956 Summer Olympics held in Melbourne, Australia, in the high jump event, where she won the silver medal jointly with Maria Pisareva. In the 1954 Commonwealth Games she won a gold medal for Northern Ireland. As well as athletics she excelled at hockey where she was a regular choice for the Ireland women's national field hockey team, playing at forward and winning 40 caps. She also represented Ireland as an international Squash player.

She was one of many signatories in a letter to The Times on 17 July 1958 opposing 'the policy of apartheid' in international sport and defending 'the principle of racial equality which is embodied in the Declaration of the Olympic Games'.[2]


  1. ^ "World Records for High Jump (Women)". World Records. Cleave Books. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  2. ^ Brown and Hogsbjerg, Apartheid is not a game, 16
  • Brown, Geoff and Hogsbjerg, Christian. Apartheid is not a Game: Remembering the Stop the Seventy Tour campaign. London: Redwords, 2020. ISBN 9781912926589.