Janet Simpson

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJanet Mary•Simpson (-Clerc)
Used nameJanet•Simpson
Born2 September 1944 in Barnet, England (GBR)
Died14 March 2010
Measurements166 cm / 65 kg
AffiliationsLondon Olympiades, London (GBR)
NOC Great Britain
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 1


Janet Simpson had the example of her mother to follow as she embarked on a career in track and field athletics. Violet Webb had won an Olympic bronze medal as part of Britain’s sprint relay quartet at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles and had also won a medal in the long jump at the 1934 British Empire Games. An outstanding athlete as a youngster she first represented Great Britain as an eighteen year old in 1963 and had only just passed twenty when she reached the Olympic 200 m final in Tokyo. It was in Tokyo that she emulated her mother’s feat and brought home a bronze medal in the sprint relay.

Simpson continued her progress in 1965 and 1966 by winning consecutive Women’s AAA 200 m titles and picking up another sprint relay medal, a silver, at the 1966 Commonwealth Games but then took a sabbatical from the track in 1967 before returning as a 400 m runner in the Olympic year of 1968. She showed a continuous improvement in her one lap running throughout the season culminating in a 4th place finish in the Olympic 400 m final where she took a clear second off her personal best. A finalist in the individual 400 m at the 1969 European Championship it was her performance as part of the Great Britain 4×400 m team that was arguably the greatest of her career. Combining with Pat Lowe, Rosemary Stirling and Lillian Board against an equally strong French team the British foursome won a desperately close race in a new world record time.

Although she retired at the end of 1969 she returned for one more tilt at the Olympic Games in 1972 and though she failed to progress from the heats of the individual event she once again was part of a relay squad that reached the Olympic final as Great Britain placed fifth in the 4×400 m. By now married to former European 200 m champion Philippe Clerc of Switzerland she finally walked away from competitive athletics following the Munich Olympic Games. As of 2010 Simpson and Webb are the only British mother and daughter combination to win Olympic medals on the track.

Personal Bests: 100 – 11.6 (1965); 200 – 23.75 (1964); 400 – 52.57 (1968).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1964 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Janet Simpson
200 metres, Women (Olympic) 7
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) Great Britain 3 Bronze
1968 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Janet Simpson
400 metres, Women (Olympic) 4
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) Great Britain 7
1972 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Janet Simpson
400 metres, Women (Olympic) 5 h6 r1/4
4 × 400 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) Great Britain 5

Olympic family relations

Special Notes