The parade of Olympians doesn’t stop at “The Show” by Trace ‘N Chase and we were very honored to host the 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist in 100 m hurdles Mrs. Voula Patoulidou! She opens up to Vassilis Skountis about her early career as a basketball player, her encounter with Florence Griffith Joyner and Gail Devers, her transition to a career as a politician and the life skills she was able to gain from her engagement with sports!
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Born in Tripotamo (part of Florina prefecture), Patoulidou throughout her athletics career competed in the 100 metres, 100 metres hurdles and in the long jump events.
On 5th August 1992, she qualified for the final in the 100 m hurdles by improving her personal best from 12.96 (set in the qualifying round) to 12.88 seconds in the semi-finals. This success made her the first Greek woman ever to reach a track final in the Olympic Games. One day later, the clear favourite of the 100 m hurdles final, Gail Devers of the United States, made a costly mistake and tripped on the last hurdle. Patoulidou took advantage and lunged her body forward for the finishing line. She crossed the line in 12.64 seconds, a Greek national record that still stands.
After her Olympic gold medal she decided to switch back to the long jump, her first love, believing that she had achieved as much as possible in the 100 m hurdles. She was vindicated for her choice when she participated in her second Olympic Games’ Final, in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, finishing 10th.
In the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Patoulidou was a member of the 4 × 100 m relay team that reached the semi-finals and ended up in the 13th place. She was given an honorary place in the 4 × 100 m relay team in the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, participating for the fifth time in the Olympic Games at the age of 39.
She was the only woman amongst the five Greek sporting legends chosen to be the penultimate runners in the 2004 Olympic torch relay, along with Nick Galis, Mimis Domazos, Kakhi Kakhiashvili and Ioannis Melissanidis. She was also one of the penultimate runners of the 1996 torch relay in Atlanta, joining Evander Holyfield and Janet Evans.
Stay tuned for more episodes from “The Show” by Trace ‘N Chase coming soon…!
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