Ibolya Csák, Elfriede Kaun and Dorothy Odam
at the 1936 Olympics.
|Representing Great Britain|
|1936 Berlin||High jump|
|1948 London||High jump|
|1950 Brussels||High jump|
|British Empire Games|
|1938 Sydney||High jump|
|1950 Auckland||High jump|
|British Empire and Commonwealth Games|
|1954 Vancouver||High jump|
Odam competed for Great Britain in the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin, Germany where she won the silver medal behind Ibolya Csák. She jumped the highest and was the first to clear 1.60 meters, and would have won under modern countback rules, but under the 1936 rulebook a jump-off was called for, and Csák won the gold.
In 1939 she broke the world record in the high jump with 1.66m, but Germany's Dora Ratjen allegedly broke her record quickly. Odam was suspicious of Ratjen and, according to Odam, "They wrote to me telling me I didn't hold the record, so I wrote to them saying, 'She's not a woman, she's a man'. They did some research and found 'her' serving as a waiter called Hermann Ratjen. So I got my world record back." Odam’s world record was formally recognized by the sport's world governing body, the IAAF, in 1957.
She won the silver medal again in the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, making her the only woman to win Olympic athletics medals before and after the war. Her 1936 win also made her the first British woman to win an individual Olympic medal in athletics.
Odam was also twice a gold medallist at the British Empire Games, winning at Sydney in 1938 and Auckland in 1950. In Sydney she was the only Englishwoman to win athletics gold, setting a Games record of 5 ft 3 in, which is the same as 1.60 meters.
In 2012, she was the official starter for the London Marathon.
She died on 25 September 2014 aged 94 following a long illness.
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Dorothy Odam-Tyler". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2020-04-17. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
- Steven Downes. "Dorothy Tyler: High jumper who met Hitler then became the first British woman to win an individual Olympic medal in athletics | News". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- Ratjen had retired from competing in 1938, though, and her titles and records had been pulled. Hamburger Nachrichten, Oct 1, 1938, p. 11 (one of several sources).
- Thordardottir, Ingibjorg (2008-08-26). "UK | Keep it simple say 1948 Olympians". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
- "Dorothy Tyler dies aged 94". Athleticsweekly.com. 26 September 2014.