Fanny Blankers-Koen

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameFrancina Elsje "Fanny"•Blankers-Koen
Used nameFanny•Blankers-Koen
Born26 April 1918 in Baarn, Utrecht (NED)
Died25 January 2004 in Hoofddorp, Noord-Holland (NED)
Measurements175 cm / 63 kg
AffiliationsSagitta, Amsterdam (NED) / ADA, Amsterdam (NED)
NOC Netherlands
Medals OG
Gold 4
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 4


Fanny Blankers-Koen was an outstanding all around athlete who made her Olympic début in 1936. She had started to compete in athletics only the year before, when she broke the national record in the 800 m. In Berlin, however, she competed in the relay and high jump, under her maiden name Koen. A first-time medallist at the 1938 European Championships (100 and 200 m), she missed chances at Olympic success in 1940 and 1944. In this period, she married her coach Jan Blankers (an Olympic triple jumper in 1928), and had two children. However, she also managed to break several world records, both in individual and team events. The most remarkable was the record in the 4×200 m relay, which was previously held by a German team. The Dutch team wore national outfits during the race as a minor act of defiance.

At the age of 30, she entered four events in London. She would have entered the high jump and long jump as well, but women were limited to three individual events in 1948. She dominated the four events she did compete in, although she had to combat a bout of home sickness and scared the Dutch relay team when she entered the stadium late after going shopping.

Blankers-Koen also won five European titles in 1946 (80 metres hurdles and 4×100 m relay (with Gerda Koudijs, Nettie Timmer, and the non-Olympian Marta Adema) and 1950 (100 m, 200 m, 80 m hurdles). In 1946 Blankers-Koen also finished fourth in the high jump and in 1950 she also won a silver medal with the 4×100 m relay team (with Xenia Stad-de Jong, Puck Brouwer, and Gré de Jongh), and won 58 national championships in the Netherlands. For her sporting feats, a statue was erected in her honor in her home town Amsterdam. In 1999, she was elected as “Female athlete of the Century” by the IAAF.

Personal Bests: 100 – 11.5 (1943); 200 – 23.9 (1952); 80H – 11.0 (1948); HJ – 1.71 (1943).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Summer Olympics Athletics NED Fanny Koen
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) Netherlands 5
High Jump, Women (Olympic) =6
1948 Summer Olympics Athletics NED Fanny Blankers-Koen
100 metres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
200 metres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
80 metres Hurdles, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) Netherlands 1 Gold
High Jump, Women (Olympic) DNS
Long Jump, Women (Olympic) DNS
1952 Summer Olympics Athletics NED Fanny Blankers-Koen
100 metres, Women (Olympic) 2 h2 r2/4
200 metres, Women (Olympic) DNS
80 metres Hurdles, Women (Olympic) AC r3/3
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) Netherlands DNS

Olympic family relations

Special Notes