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Francina "Fanny" Elsje Blankers-Koen was a Dutch athlete, best known for winning four gold medals at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. She accomplished this as a 30-year-old mother of two, during a time when many disregarded women's athletics. Her background and performances earned her the nickname "the Flying Housewife". She was the most successful athlete at the 1948 Summer Olympics.

Fanny Blankers-Koen 1988.jpg
Fanny Blankers-Koen in 1988
Personal information
Born 26 April 1918
Lage Vuursche, Netherlands
Died 25 January 2004 (aged 85)
Hoofddorp, Netherlands
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 63 kg (139 lb)
Sport
Sport Athletics
Club Sagitta, Amsterdam; ADA, Amsterdam

Francina "Fanny" Elsje Blankers-Koen (26 April 1918 – 25 January 2004) was a Dutch athlete, best known for winning four gold medals at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. She accomplished this as a 30-year-old mother of two, during a time when many disregarded women's athletics. Her background and performances earned her the nickname "the Flying Housewife". She was the most successful athlete at the 1948 Summer Olympics.

Having started competing in athletics in 1935, she took part in the 1936 Summer Olympics a year later. Although international competition was eliminated by World War II, Blankers-Koen set several world records during that period, in events as diverse as the long jump, the high jump, and sprint and hurdling events.

Apart from her four Olympic titles, she won five European titles and 58 Dutch championships, and set or tied 12 world records – the last, pentathlon, in 1951 aged 33. She retired from athletics in 1955, after which she became captain of the Dutch female track and field team. In 1999, she was voted "Female Athlete of the Century" by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Her Olympic victories are credited with helping to eliminate the belief that age and motherhood were a barrier to success in women's sport.

The Incredible Dominance Of Fanny Blankers-Koen | Olympic Records

The Olympic Records series looks back at the incredible performance of the Netherlands' Fanny Blankers-Koen as she becomes the first woman to win 4 ...

The Story of the Fanny Blankers-Koen - The Female Athlete of the 20th Century | On the Line

Despite being called "The Flying Housewife" back in her competitive days, Fanny Blankers-Koen pioneered a new path for female athletes by winning four ...

Fanny Blankers-Koen - The Best Female Athlete of the 20th Century | London 1948 Olympics

Highlights from the London 1948 Olympic Games as Fanny Blankers-Koen wins one of multiple gold medals, leading to her being rightfully named the female ...

Fanny Blankers-Koen wins 4 golds at the 1948 Olympics

Fanny Blankers-Koen, a 30 year-old mother of two, was the most successful athlete of the 1948 London Olympics. She won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, ...

17 Year Old Aussie Girl Beats Fanny Blankers-Koen (1949)

Sydney, Australia. Title reads '17 Yrs. Old Country Girl Defeats Dutch Champion'. LS. Elevated general view of stadium. SCU. Legs of Dutch champion athlete ...

Fanny Blankers-Koen Returns To Holland (1948)

Hoek of Holland. (Francina) Fanny Blankers-Koen returns to Holland. Dutch commentary. Approx. 20000 people were gathered in the streets, festivities went on ...