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Judy Pollock   Australia
25. Jun 1940

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    Judy Amoore-Pollock was one of Australia's best ever athletes who first came to attention in 1964 when she made the Olympic team and won a bronze medal in the 400m behind Betty Cuthbert.

    Over the next twelve years she continued to represent Australia, setting world records for 440y, 800m, 880y as well as competing in 220y and 1500m events.

Women's athletics in the early sixties was still primarily a sport for sprinters and Judy Amoore was not blessed with great speed. She was an enthusiastic trainer though and, like her training partner Pam Kilborn, responded well to the coaching guidance of Henri Schubert.

Both girls set their sites on selection in the 1962 Empire Games, to be held in Perth, but both suffered from bad luck. Pollock was rushed to hospital with acute appendicitis prior to the 400m final and Kilborn could not run a place due to injuries.

In 1963 she began to specialise in the 440y as this event was to make it's international debut in the 1964 Olympic Games. There was a strong standard in women's 400m running in Australia with 440y World Record-holder Betty Cuthbert and 880y World Record-holder Dixie Willis also contesting the event.

Though she had run the fastest quarter-mile in Australia in 1964 (54.4), Willis and Cuthbert were the favourites for the national championships. In the end Willis (53.7) beat Cuthbert and Amoore (both 54.3) and all three were selected in the Olympic team.

At the Games Amoore ran well, winning her heat and semi-final in quick times. In the final, she had to settle for third and a surprise bronze medal behind the amazing Betty Cuthbert and Britain's Ann Packer.

Her success in Tokyo seemed to inspire her to greater heights and early in 1965 she and Pam Kilborn went on a record-breaking spree on the US Indoor Circuit. They returned to Australia for the Nationals and Amoore won the 440y, setting a new World Reccord of 52.4 for the distance.

In 1966, she was just as dominant in the Nationals over her specialty distance, but proved her all-round abilities in winning the 880y and taking third in the 220y sprint.

She reached the Commonwealth Games finals in all three events in the Kingston Games of 1966, taking Gold in the 440y, Silver in the 880 and just missing a Bronze in the 220y.

In 1967, she again won a Nationals double, this time over metric distances of 400m/800m and set herself for a European tour.

Pollock's series of runs in Europe during 1967 was one of the highlights of her career. She was undefeated over 800m or 880y and broke the World Record for both distances.

Running in Helsinki on 28 June 1967, she broke Ann Packer's listed 800m record of 2-01.1 with her winning time of 2-01.0. She later equalled Dixie Willis' time of 2-02.0 over 880y in Stockholm.

She looked like a certainty for medals in either 400m or 800m - or possibly both - in the Mexico City Olympics but, in a surprise, she announced her retirement due to pregnancy. Pollock stayed out of the sport for the next few years, concentrating on raising her family and did not return to training until late 1971.

With good performances t hroughout the 1971/72 season in Australia, she achieved her aim of making the Olympic team in the 400m, 800m and 4x400m relay. She seemed back to her best with times of 52.5 and 2-01.5 to win the National Championships, but suffered injury problems leading into the Games.

In the end, her injuries were bad enough to stop her competing at all in Munich and she again retired on falling pregnant.

Three years later, the call of the Olympics was enough to end her retirement and at the age of 35, she returned to training. She concentrated on the 800m in this campaign, though she did dabble in other events such as the 400m Hurdles and 1500m.

In the 1976 Victorian State Championships, she showed she was worthy of Olympic selection with a time of 2-01.1 to place second behind Commonwealth champion Charlene Rendina, who set a phenomonal National record of 1-59.0, which took two seconds off the previous record.

Pollock's second placing in the national championships (again behind Rendina) plus a surprise win in the 1500m (4-21.5) ensured selection in her third Olympic team.

In the Games, she ran well to qualify for the semi-final, but could not make the final despite running a lifetime best of 1-59.93. The 'supporting means' used by the Eastern Bloc athletes who comprised the 800m finalists in 1976 meant Pollock never had a fair chance of qualifying.

She was outclassed in the 1500m and did not progress past her heat, but also ran a personal best in this event. Just prior to the Games in Montreal, Pollock ran 1000m in 2-38.8 - an Australian record that still stands in the year 2000.

Judy Amoore was an enthusiastic athlete in the early sixties, but she was not a 'natural' and had to work hard for her good results.