Full Name: Joy Wilhelmina Jordan
Date of Birth: 13 November 1935.
Club: Guildford & Godalming.
Among A Select Group
The greatest period of Joy Jordan’s career came in a brief period in 1960 when she joined an elite group of British women who had set individual world records. Her international career was short but eventful and during the period of 1958 to 1962, she was the untouchable force of middle-distance running in Britain.
Jordan had made it through to the Olympic final in Rome having ran an 800m personal best of 2:07.29 in her heat. The pace of the final was too much, but it was a memorable event though for the performance of the woman who had led for most of the way. Australian Dixie Willis was in front and in charge before suddenly just leaving the track, waving her arms in the air and opening the way for her fellow countrywoman Brenda Jones to take charge. She could not hold on as Lyudmyla Shevtsova, of the Soviet Union, came through to win in 2:04.3, improving her own world record with Jordan sixth in 2:07.8
…But Then Welwyn
Just a matter of weeks later, it was Jordan’s turn to enter athletics history and produce the only world record performance ever at Welwyn Garden City. Jordan ran 2.06.1 for the 880y, beating the time of 2.06.6 by Nina Otkalenko, of the Soviet Union, more than four years earlier. Her previous best had been 2:08.1 for 800y when winning against West Germany in 1959 and she had run on the British team that had set an unofficial world record for 4x440y in 1958. Jordan held the record until Willis, recovered from her Rome antics, ran 2:02.0 in Perth in March 1962. Then at the end of the year, Willis won the British Empire and Commonwealth Games title in that same Australian city as Jordan finished third.
Among The Best
Jordan was ranked third in the world at 800m in 1959 and sixth each year from 1960 to 1962, running her personal best for 800m when she was fourth in the European Championships in Belgrade in 2:05.0. But there was more to this athlete than just the two-laps. Jordan showed her endurance capability with top 10 placings in each of the four times that she ran the National cross-country with a best of third in 1961 and she finished sixth for England in an international cross-country in 1967.
1958: 9th 800m Europeans
1960: 6th 800m Olympics
1962: 3rd 880y Commonwealth Games, 4th 800m Europeans
1967: 6th International CC
UK Internationals: 15 (1958-62)
Won WAAA 880y 1958-62.
400m 55.1 (1969), 600y 1:23.8 (1962), 800m 2:05.0 (1962), 1500m 4:41.0 (1967), 1M 4:55.4 (1967).