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Maricica Puică (née Luca on 29 July 1950) is a retired Romanian middle-distance runner. She is the 1984 Olympic champion in the 3000 metres. One of the greatest female middle-distance runners of the 1980s, she also twice won the World Cross Country Championship (1982, 1984) and broke the world record for the mile in 1982.[2]

Maricica Puică
Maricica Puică 1982.jpg
Puică in 1982
Personal information
Born (1950-07-29) 29 July 1950 (age 69)
Iaşi, Romania[1]
Height168 cm (5 ft 6 in)
Weight54 kg (119 lb)
Event(s)1000–3000 m
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)1000 m – 2:31.5 (1986)
1500 m – 3:57.22 (1984)
3000 m – 8:27.83 (1985)[2]


Puicǎ was born in Iași, Romania and competed at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and the 1980 Moscow Olympics, where she finished seventh in the 1500 m. In 1978, she placed fourth in the 3000 m at the European Championships. In March 1982, she won the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. In August, she won a silver medal in the 3000 m at the European Championships behind Svetlana Ulmasova. She also finished fourth in the 1500 m final. A month later in September, she broke Mary Decker's world mile record of 4:18.08 with 4:17.44 in Rieti.

Puicǎ missed the 1983 World Championships due to injury, but returned in early 1984 to win her second World Cross Country Championship title. Then in the Summer, she won the inaugural 3000 m title at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, a race remembered more for the collision of Mary Decker and Zola Budd. At those Games, she also won a bronze medal in the 1500 m behind Italy's Gabriella Dorio and Romanian teammate Doina Melinte.[1]

In July 1986, at the London Grand Prix, she broke Tatyana Kazankina'a world 2000 m record of 5:28.72, with a time of 5:28.69. At the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart, she won a silver medal in the 3000 m, behind Olga Bondarenko. She was also fifth in the 1500 m final. 1987 began with her winning a bronze medal in the 3000 m at the World Indoor Championships in Indianapolis, finishing behind the Soviet pair of Tatyana Samolenko and Bondarenko. Later that year, aged 37, she won a silver medal in the 3000 m at the World Championships in Rome, again behind Samolenko.[2]

Puica competed at her fourth and final Olympic Games in Seoul 1988, where she dropped out of her 3000 m heat with just 200 metres to go.[1]

In 1989, she spoke on Romanian television in support of the revolutionaries fighting against the regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu. (However Nicolae Ceauşescu ignored the Soviet Union boycott of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, in contrast to the other East European countries.)

International competitionsEdit


  1. ^ a b c Maricica Puică. Sports Reference
  2. ^ a b c Maricica Puică at IAAF
Sporting positions
Preceded by
  Yelena Sipatova
Women's 3000 m Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
  Svetlana Ulmasova