|Date||25 – 28 July 1996|
|Location||Stone Mountain Velodrome, Stone Mountain, Georgia|
|Participants||12 from 12 countries|
|Olympic Record||3:41.509 / Petra Roßner GER / 30 July 1992|
Through the 1980s, America’s Rebecca Twigg had shared the title of world’s best female pursuiter with France’s Jeannie Longo. Together they had shared the World Championships between 1982 and 1989, save for 1982, won by Connie Carpenter-Phinney, winner of the inaugural women’s Olympic road race in 1984. Twigg had won a bronze medal in the pursuit in 1992, but had again won the world pursuit title in 1993 and 1995. Twigg was known for her brains and her looks as well as her cycling abilities. She started college when only 14-years-old and had worked part-time for several years as a model. Based on her recent World titles, and her past palmares, she was a slight favorite. But she was unable to overcome the Italian, Antonella Bellutti and her new bike, with the revolutionary handlebars and riding position, termed the Superman position for its resemblance to his fictional flying posture. Bellutti led the qualifying and won all her races by over five seconds. Twigg lost in the quarters to Germany’s Judith Arndt. Arndt in turn lost to the 1994 World Champion, Marion Clignet (FRA), in the semis, before Clignet succumbed to Bellutti in the final. Shortly after the Olympics, Clignet would win the 1996 World Championship, with Bellutti placing third. Twigg would race for one more year, retiring after 1997, when she raced mostly in the United States. Clignet was American-born but had been unable to make the US team for international races, so used dual French citizenship to compete for France internationally.
|9||May Britt Hartwell||NOR|
Top eight advanced to quarter-finals.
|9||May Britt Hartwell||NOR||3:43.824|
|1||May Britt Hartwell||NOR||3:43.824|
Winner of each heat advanced to semi-finals.
Winner of each heat advanced to final.