Her sire was a steeplechaser but she was sold to her lifetime owner at an early age. She was a very successful Three Day Event horse, she won individual and team gold at the Pan American Games in 1975, helped to win team bronze at the World Championships in the 1978, and her most impressive accomplishment, she won the individual and team gold at the 1976 Olympic games. She was solid in all three phases (this is not very common), but she was said to be best in cross-country, her owner said this about her “she was somewhat short-strided, so she didn’t have much extension in dressage, but if the going on cross-country was trappy, she was perfect”. She is the grand dam of the 2001 USEA Mare of the Year, Bally Mar.
IT is rare a major championships middle-distance final produces a world record and it is a greater rarity, regardless of the setting, a world record is set in a competitive race. However, the 800m final in Montreal met both criteria as the first four ducked under Valentina Gerasimova’s world record of 1:56.0.
The likelihood of a tactical race was lessened as the first 300m was still run in lanes at major championships and indeed, Svetlana Styrkina reached the bell in a lightning-fast 55.05. Unsurprisingly, the tempo slowed in the third-quarter as the field bunched together and Anita Weiss from East Germany held a narrow lead into the home straight.
Weiss, however, began to tire as Tatyana Kazankina timed her effort perfectly. The quick-striding Soviet ran a much more even-paced final as she moved from fifth with 80m remaining to win her first of three Olympic titles in 1:54.94.
The final also concluded what must have been a rather deflating Games for world record-holder Gerasimova who was tamely eliminated in the semi-finals.