Full Name: Dorothy Hyman
Date of Birth: 9 May 1941
Born: Cudworth, South Yorkshire.
Club: Hickleton Main SC, Dorothy Hyman Track Club.
Coach(s): Ed Fleetwood, Denis Watts.
There has not been a greater British woman sprinter than Dorothy Hyman, the star from South Yorkshire who now has a stadium named after her in her home town of Cudworth. It is a fitting honour for a woman who showed elegance and grace on the track and who created a superb record between 1960 and 1963 when she won 18 out of her 20 international races. Her presence was immense and her success was rewarded in 1963 when she was named the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year.
It all began for Hyman in 1954, when she was still at school in Cudworth. She was 13 when she started sprinting and within three years she was in the English team for the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. At 17, she was not just there for the experience; she was there to win medals and that is exactly what happened. Though Hyman made the semi-finals of the 100y, she was a member of the English 4 x 110y relay team which did more than just beat Australia, the favourites. They even broke the world record. It was July 26 1958 and the quartet of Madeleine Weston, Hyman, June Paul and Heather Young combined brilliantly to triumph in 45.3 from Australia, second in 46.12, with Canada third in 47.21. The youngster who had won English Schools and WAA junior titles in 1956 had come of age in style - having made her international debut at 16. She had won relay silver also at the European Championships in Stockholm, providing her with a superb platform to take to the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960.
It proved to be a wonderful Olympics for Hyman, who was not even rated to be among the medallists, with her times indicating that she would not even be guaranteed to earn a place in the final of the 100m and 200m. But statistics mean nothing against raw courage and Hyman showed that to win silver in the 100m in 11.3 behind America’s Wilma Rudolph, who ran 11.0, a landmark performance but her time was wind-assisted and could not be ratified as a world record. Hyman found Rudolph too strong in 200m too. As the American won in 24.0, the British star finished third in 24.7 with West Germany’s Jutta Heine sandwiched in between them in second in 24.4. Hyman is the only British woman to win Olympic medals in both sprints, and two years later in Perth, she was a double champion this time.
At the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Hyman won the 100y in 11.2 and the 220y in 24.22, yet it was 12 months later when she had national recognition with the BBC award, after she had a brilliant year. She was World No 1 at 100, she set a European record in the 100m with 11.3 and a British record of 23.2 in the 200m while also being part of another world record relay team. What noise greeted the baton being passed to her by Daphne Arden on August 5, 1963, at the White City Stadium in London in Britain’s match against the USA. Madeleine Cobb had run first, then Mary Rand, before it was Ardene onto Hyman who charged away to lead the team home in 45.2
Hyman’s father was a miner in Yorkshire and even at the height of her athletics career, she worked as a tracer for the National Coal Board in Cudworth. By 1964, and the Olympics in Tokyo, though injury affected her summer, she still left Japan with a bronze medal from the 4 x 100m relay. Though she had been knocked out of the 200m in the semi-finals, she was part of a 100m final which would later lead to controversy. Hyman was not herself, because of her return fron injury. She was eighth and last in 11.9 as Wyomia Tyus, of the USA, won in 11.4. In third place was Ewa Klobukowska in 11.6, but three years later the Polish star she was not allowed to compete internationally after failing a sex test. She was ruled ineligible for the European Cup women's track and field competition in 1967 and the following year the IAAF took away the Olympic gold and bronze medals she had won in Japan. Klobukowska had failed the chromosome test, even though she later she gave birth to a girl.
Four times double WAAA sprint champion, Hyman retired somewhat prematurely but when she decided to run again in 1969, she was prevented from resuming her international career because of the then rules of amateurism and she had been paid when she wrote her biography. She did compete domestically, though, winning the WAAA 2000m in a career where she broke the British 100m record on eight occasions. Awarded the MBE in 1965, the stadium in her name was opened in June 1973.
1958: sf 100y, 1st 4x110y Commonwealth Games, sf 100m, 2nd 4x100m Europeans
1960: 2nd 100m, 3rd 200m, dnf 4x100m Olympics
1962: 1st 100y & 220y, 2nd 4x110y Commonwealth Games, 1st 100m, 2nd 200m, 3rd 4x100m Europeans
1964: 8th 100m, sf 200m, 3rd 4x100m Olympics
UK Internationals: 19 (1957-64)
Won WAAA 100y & 220y 1959-60, 1962-3; 200m 1969; Junior 100y 1956, Inters 100y 1957.
100y 10.6 (1962), 10.5wdh (1963); 100m 11.3 (1963), 11.54 (1964), 11.43w (1960); 200m 23.2 (1963), 23.40 (1962)