The Most Incredible Final Lap in Olympic Marathon History | Strangest Moments

The Most Incredible Final Lap in Olympic Marathon History | Strangest Moments

The Olympic marathon
affords its runners at least one moment of glory. After more than 25 miles of
punishment along city streets – that’s more than
40,000 metres – the final lap of the race takes place inside the Olympic
Stadium. When an athlete arrives
at the stadium and hears the roar of the
crowd, the pain and the suffering
becomes worthwhile. Amazingly, the 1984 Marathon
in Los Angeles was the first time that moment of glory could be
experienced by female athletes. Before the 1984 Games, the longest race available for
women was the 1,500 metres. Women had been barred from track-and-field
competition altogether until 1928, where the 800
metres was the longest race
they were permitted to run. Olympic officials considered
long-distance running to be too demanding for women. The Los Angeles marathon was
a huge step towards equality, and the crowd knew it. The noise that greeted
the USA’s Joan Benoit as she entered the stadium, becoming the first female
marathon winner in history, was spine-tingling. She won by nearly
a minute and a half. But not everyone came
bursting into the stadium riding a crest of adrenaline. Here, for instance, is how Gabriela Andersen-Schiess
of Switzerland entered the Los Angeles
Coliseum on August 5th 1984. Just look at her go. OK, perhaps Andersen-Schiess
is not the best example of record-breaking speed, but the performance of
this 39-year-old Swiss athlete is far more memorable than
anything even the winner managed
that day. Despite battling heat
exhaustion, and seemingly on the brink of
complete physical collapse, she got around the course. Sometimes, one lap of the track can seem like a very long way
to go. The crowd in the stadium sensed that it was seeing something
special. It stood to applaud
her every uncertain step. Marathons are never easy,
but this one was brutal. The race had started that day
in Santa Monica, with temperatures of
around 19 degrees Celsius. But by the time the race ended,
it was up around 25 degrees. But more troubling than that
was the humidity – that was climbing close to 95%. Andersen-Schiess later admitted that she didn’t acclimatise
properly to the conditions in Los
Angeles. Crucially, she missed
the last aid station before getting to the stadium. She failed to take on water
when her body needed it most. By the time she arrived
to the stadium, a staggering bundle of agony, Joan Benoit had been
the champion for about 20 minutes. Benoit ran way ahead of the
pack after about 15km and never looked back. When Andersen-Schiess appeared, she was running on willpower
alone. Medics immediately ran to her
aid, but Andersen-Schiess
shooed them away – if they gave her assistance
she would be disqualified. It was no idle threat –
there was precedent. Italy’s Dorando Pietri had
his gold medal revoked in 1908, when he had been helped
across the line. Andersen-Schiess didn’t
have a gold medal at stake but her pride was on the line. The medics saw that
Andersen-Schiess was still perspiring, which was a good thing. It meant she did not
have heat stroke. The medical situation was not
as dire as might be feared. They allowed her to make her
journey to the finish line unassisted. When she got to the line after 5 minutes and 44 seconds
on the track, Andersen-Schiess finally broke
down. Her time of 2 hours
48 minutes and 44 seconds placed her 37th of
the 44 runners who finished. It wasn’t gold-medal pace, but it was something to be
proud of. Few performances
have ever represented the spirit of competition,
determination and grit as much as that lap by
Gabriela Andersen-Schiess, and it made a mockery
of the old idea that female athletes lacked
the heart and the willpower to take on the toughest
long-distance challenge of all.

100 Replies to “The Most Incredible Final Lap in Olympic Marathon History | Strangest Moments”

  1. It escapes me why this woman is lionized here. She barely finished a marathon just like 10s of thousands of folks every year do who are ill-trained and have no business on the course. As a former marathon and competitive runner speaking, she failed to train for the race effectively. To the unwashed masses, she is a hero. For those who dedicate their lives each and every moment of every single day to their craft, she's just a silly woman hauled away on a stretcher at 36th. Shameful sight. Hope she got her "finishers medal".

  2. Huummm…. going from 19C to 25C ain't that bad. It's kinda chilly actually. Surgery rooms run at 19 and maybe you will need an extra but light coat to stay there for an hour. High humidity is quite a problem though, and happens when the air is hot. Maybe checking the numbers again later could be a good idea, or just use F instead

  3. And they want women to be in combat situations… Now lift and carry your 225lb Brother after they have been wounded along with your weapon, and theirs. another mile and you're all safe.

  4. Omg this made me cry. I can't stand seeing her like that and refusing help. Wow. What heart this woman has. ❤️

  5. Weeelllllll Shiet, didn't know humidity could affect ones eyes…
    Moral: too much humidity not good for the eyes

  6. Not wanting to take anything away from the fact that a marathon is really tough, but call it the hardest long-distance challenge of them all?….c-mon, not even slightly.

  7. the toughest long distance challenge of all?
    Spartathlon Greece
    the history of the original runner.
    athens to sparta
    sparta to athens
    athens to marathon
    marathon to athens
    fall down dead from exhaustion.
    roughly 350 miles, a nap, and a battle in full armor. His name was Pheidippides.


  9. That's what I'm gonna do when I'm dead last…

    That way I'll still get cheered for being a loser and I'll steal the winner's thunder

    I'll be the first loser with a shoe contract and appear on a Wheaties box. Lol

  10. They say 25°C is hot? … Pathetic, come here in the Philippines, where the tenoerature is 40°C and 44°C heat index.

  11. Ela conseguiu entrar para história, sem ter chegado em primeiro lugar na competição. Ela provou que toda e qualquer força de vontade é maior e mais forte do que qualquer dor.

  12. Recién ahora conozco tu historia, conmovedora!!! Superadora, gran abrazo 🌷desde Jujuy 🌵 argentina

  13. No Scottish narrators please. Or make them speak general English accent. In fact, due to USA's cultural dominance (Hollywood and TV shows), narrators' should use general American accent. Since this is what most of the world hears.

  14. Wow mispronouncing the surname of a heroine by calling her with a swear word. And not even getting the name of the winner right.


  15. I remember it very well, this feat is unforgettable because it shows what the human being is able to do when he draws on his courage. There are many who should "take seed", ie meditate on this model. It's magnificent!

  16. I used to work at his family home in Oxfordshire waterperry then strangely I also worked at Queens college in Oxford City were he studied many years ago he is a nice man .

  17. I remember this moment i was eleven years untill now this impact on me and inspiration i never forget Andrson . Really i respect her fighting .

  18. Yo era muy joven y nunca olvidé ese momento, sobre todo el mensaje que dejó en mí …… nunca te rindas y debes luchar por tus sueños, llegar a la meta es el premio y siempre valdrá la pena….

  19. Oh God I can't stand this narrator ("nariter") And equality look there's just some things women are not going to be equal okay.

  20. Moved me to tears. That is what the human spirit is made of! I salute you, Gabriela. That last lap was run on will power alone.

    I've run 5 LA Marathons. Two were Biathlons with a bike race the entire marathon route followed by the marathon. One time the temps rose to 87F which is 30.5C. I had to break down the run into walks, and some stretches just lay down on grass to let my body cool off. I used ice packs in my pants (groin area) and inside my cap on the head to cool off. We were being hosed off by residents all along the route, and offered cold drinks bought by strangers. It was such an uplifting moment to see the whole city come together to support the runners. A big beautiful spirit over LA. Thank you kind people. I made it to the finish line because of you. I will never forget the gang banger type tough guy who hosed me down and offered me a cold drink he had bought himself.

  21. It's amazing to see how many australians, indians and south east asians think it's easy to run 2 hours non-stop at 25 degrees with 95% humidity.

  22. Das war olympischer Wille!!Hut ab,das war eine Leistung…War damals noch ein Kind aber daran kann ich mich noch heute erinnern…


  24. when someone finishes like that in swimming, the following applause is “the pity clap” but I guess we can cheer on her stupidity for refusing to drink water

  25. She Is the perfect example of a warrior, it's not simply how far you go, it's how far you go after having emptied the last drop of Energy You have, this is what classifies Heroes.

  26. Note that she finished 37th of 44 runners. So even after doing a zombie-Frankenstein walk around the track, she still was faster then 7 runners. Wow

  27. If the 3rd wave feminist story in this video is true, why hasn't a woman passed Special Forces assessment and selection yet? Many have tried over the years, all failed. Haven't heard of one that's made it half way through the course….

  28. It actually shows the opposite, that the female event is so uncompetitive that a woman who could barely finish the marathon can still qualify to the International Olympics games.

  29. The thing is that preparing for such a long run like the marathon does not start the day of, proper hydration and fueling starts the day before, and days prior😏🤷

  30. Whoaa the heat in my country can even reached 32 degrees celcius and I cannot understand how my friend managed to run a marathon with that heat😬

  31. getting pumped for 2020 yal a great number a great year hopefully a clean and sick af year when USA and Russia don't win everything. peace and love

  32. "Just look at her go." Oh my gawd, that cracked me up! 🤣🤣🤣🤣 Then I cried when she crossed the finish line. That's true grit!

  33. Your saying that she's getting heat exhaustion by just running a marathon with a temperature of 25 Degrees? No offence but here in the Philippines 25 Degrees is just the lowest temperature in the midnight.

  34. If this race was in mid July in Southern Ontario they would all be in the hospital with 45 Celsius , 44 km head winds and 99% humidity. This is why you don't see marathons or po cycling racing in this section of Ontario it's too dangerous and deaths have occurred year after year.

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