Wendy Sly was an Olympic silver medalist from the 1984 LA Olympic 3000 meters. The women’s 3000 meters in LA was a race of some complication. The seven and one half laps of the race was a combination of technical running, roller derby, and sprinting like mad at the right time. Wendy Sly had trained for nearly a dozen years by the time LA came around. I never thought that she got her fair recognition.
In the U.S., we were then obsessed with Mary Decker Slaney. Mary had won the 1983 WC 3000m and 1,500m in long, mad drives to the finish. Mary Slaney had, at that time, every American record from 1,500m to 10,000m. The US crowd wanted to see an American medal from US star Mary Slaney. Nothing else would satiate the crowd. Yet, that was not to be that day.
In the women’s 3000m final, there was Maricica Puica, Wendy Sly, Mary Slaney, Cindy Bremser, Lynn Williams, Zola Budd, among others. Zola Budd was a media darling, who had used her grandparents’ British citizenship to compete for GBR. The 3,000 meters was that place where the 1,500m athlete and the long distance athletes would meet (remember the women’s 10,000m was added at Olympics in 1988, women’s 5000m in 1996).
The race was physical, so much that Zola Budd, Mary Slaney and Brigitte Kraus went down. Zola Budd finished, Slaney and Kraus did not. Why did happen? My belief was that the race was very close, and as Mary Slaney and Zola Budd tangled, the party was over.
In the wake of the turmoil, Wendy Sly kept her head, and kept the battle between Puica and Wendy Sly. In the media soap opera that was the LA Olympics, Wendy Sly took the silver medal by not loosing her cool in front of 80,000 fans. Yet, as she was not American Mary Slaney, it really did not get the ink it deserved.
After an amazing athletics career, Wendy Sly is now the publishing director of Athletics Weekly magazine.
We thank Wendy Sly for writing to Jeff Benjamin on how to train during the currrent plague.
Awaiting The Baton In The Relay Exchange Zone – Profiles Of Athletes, Coaches & Legends During The War Against Corona
Profile # 36
World-Class Olympic Medalist Running Legend Wendy Sly
By Jeff Benjamin
How is your daily training/coaching/work routine doing and how challenging has it been for you in this environment?
“The key thing for me was to get into a routine. I have been furloughed so not working at the moment, so needed to create a structure to my day. I set my self the goal of every morning 6 days a week to use the hour of exercise that we were given in the best possible way, so one day a long run, the next jogging and weights/ S&C, the next an hour of harder running including some kind of intervals. That way I was using my hour outside to best advantage and getting fit!
Then in the afternoon do chores/cleaning/food shopping, stopping at 5pm to hear the Downing St update.
“So far 4 and a half weeks in I have stuck to that.”
What advice can you give to runners, -especially youth, high school, collegiate- who are challenged during this time as well.
” As above really, don’t let the days drift by. Create some structure. keep in the habit of running, but don’t train too hard as at the moment there is no end date to this and therefore no start date for competition. Use indoor time to your best advantage to stretch, do yoga, weights if you can. The main thing is to keep your body in good shape, so once there are goals to aim for you can go for them!”