Wendy Smith-Sly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wendy Sly
née Smith
Personal information
Born5 November 1959
Hampton, Greater London
ClubBorough of Hounslow Athletics Club
Brooks Racing Team (USA)

Wendy Sly MBE (née Smith, born 5 November 1959) is a female British former athlete, who competed mainly in the 3000 metres. She won a silver medal in the event at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. She won the 1983 10km World Road Race Championships in San Diego.

Early life[edit]

Sly was born in Hampton, Greater London, England. She attended Ashford County Grammar School, a co-educational grammar school now the site of Spelthorne College. She studied English Literature at Loughborough University from 1978-81.


In 1978, as Wendy Smith, she finished 43rd at the World Cross Country Championships, and won a team bronze medal. In 1980, she was the UK number one in the 3000 metres and finished second in the 1500 metres at the UK Championships.[1] /bc/ In 1982, at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, she won a silver medal in the 3000 metres, running 8:48.47 behind Anne Audain.[2]

In 1983, now competing as Wendy Sly, she finished fifth in the finals of both the 1500 metres and the 3000 metres at the inaugural World Championships in Helsinki. She ran her lifetime bests in both events, 4:04.14 in the 1500 m and 8:37.06 in the 3000 m. Also that year, she won the IAAF World Women's Road Race Championships in San Diego contested over 10 km.

At her first Olympic Games in 1984 in Los Angeles, Sly won a silver medal in the infamous 3000 metres final that included the collision between Mary Decker and Zola Budd, with whom she had a strong rivalry. She ran a season's best of 8:39.47. The race was won by Maricica Puică of Romania. She represented England in the 3,000 metres event, at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland.[3][4]

Sly finished eighth in the 1987 World Championships 3000 metres final in Rome. Then at her second Olympics in Seoul, she finished seventh in the 3000 metres final in 8:37.70, her fastest time in five years.[5] She represented England in the in the 10,000 metres event, at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand.[6][7]

As of 2019, Sly still ranks in the UK all-time top 10 lists in the 3000 metres (9th with 8:37.06 1983), 10 km road (4th with 31:29 in 1983) and 15 km road (4th with 48:17 in 1985).

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to athletics.[8][9]

Personal life[edit]

In 1997, she had a son, Max Heath. In 2013, she married her long-term partner, Andrew, whom she met through working together for her former university friend and colleague, Sebastian Coe.

National titles[edit]

  • 1986 UK 3000 metres Champion
  • 1987 AAA Championships 3000 metres Champion
  • 1988 AAAs Indoor 3000 metres Champion

International competitions[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1978 World Cross Country Championships Glasgow, Scotland 43rd 4.7 km
1981 World Cross Country Championships Madrid, Spain 65th 4.4 km
1982 Commonwealth Games Brisbane, Australia 2nd 3000 m 8:48.47
1983 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 5th 1500 m 4:04.14
5th 3000 m 8:37.06
World Women's Road Race Championships San Diego, United States 1st 10 km 32:23
1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles, United States 2nd 3000 m 8:39.47
1986 Commonwealth Games Edinburgh, Scotland 8th 3000 m 9:14.04
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy 8th 300 m 8:45.85
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 7th 3000 m 8:37.70
1990 Commonwealth Games Auckland, New Zealand DNF 10,000 m


  1. ^ http://www.gbrathletics.com
  2. ^ "Athletes and results". Commonwealth Games Federation.
  3. ^ "1986 Athletes". Team England.
  4. ^ "England team in 1986". Commonwealth Games Federation.
  5. ^ http://www.todor66.com/olim/1984/Athletics/index.html
  6. ^ "1990 Athletes". Team England.
  7. ^ "England team in 1990". Commonwealth Games Federation.
  8. ^ "No. 61092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2014. p. N24.
  9. ^ 2015 New Year Honours List

External links[edit]