If you recall the 1984 Summer Olympics, shit went down between Mary Decker and Zola Budd. For those who don’t know who they are, here’s a quick background.
Mary Decker: Constantly talking about the gold medal she didn’t win. As a child, she raced against runners who were twice her age, and no one could top her strong and powerful kick to the finish. She’s a former American elite runner and world champion in the 1500 and 3000 meters. Some say she’s one of the greatest athletes of all time.
Zola Budd: The South African girl who never wore shoes, literally. Her running style was very unusual in that she only trained and raced barefoot. At 17, she broke the women’s 5K record with the time of 15:01:83, among other records. Even though she lived South Africa, she ran for Great Britain in the Olympics, and had said in an interview that she wishes she never took part.
In the 3000m final, Decker set the pace. Halfway through the race, the pace slowed down and Budd took the lead. Decker then took a wide turn to pass Budd to get back in the inside.
Since all the other runners ran closely in a pack, Decker and Budd kept tripping on each other’s feet. Unfortunately, Decker tripped on Budd, lost her balance, and went down.
I remember watching a documentary on ESPN on these two gifted runners. When Mary Decker went down, it sounded like everyone in the crowd booed Zola Budd for something that could’ve happened to anyone with how close in distance they were of each other.
I get really rattled when I think about the terrible attitude Decker had. From being carried off the track in tears, to completely ignoring everyone around her, to freaking out in press conferences. Years after her fall, she’s still super bitter about it. I think after watching her actions that day, among other days, made me dislike her as a person immensely. I really can’t stand prima donnas.
Maybe she would’ve won, maybe not. Life’s too short to be salty all the time.
To this day, Decker and Budd are still not on good terms primarily because Decker doesn’t believe she was ever in the wrong; therefore, she never felt the need to apologize.
Decker was Budd’s idol up until the 1984 Olympics.