On this day in history: Canadian Angela Chalmers wins bronze in 1992 Olympic 3,000m

On this day 24 years ago, Angela Chalmers brought bronze home to Canada. In 2016, what do you need to know about this race?

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Photo: olympic.ca/COC

It was 24 years ago today when Canadian Angela Chalmers lined up at the track in Barcelona to run in the women’s 3,000m event. She brought home a bronze medal to Canada.

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The race was stacked with talented and fast runners and yet for the first laps, it was notably slow. Having a slower pace at an Olympic event isn’t unheard of though as athletes approach the distances in a tactical chess-like mind game to keep it slow until one athlete is ready to make the move. At the Olympics the idea isn’t to set a record, it’s to outrun the competition and end up on the podium.

At seven minutes into the 1992 race, the front pack still held strong with less than two minutes to go until the finish. No one was making a move although Russian athletes Yelena Romanova, Tatyana Dorovskikh, Irish runner Sonia O’Sullivan were among them. The two Russians won first and second with Romanova winning in 8:46.04. Dorovskikh finished in 8:46.85 and Chalmers clocked a 8:47.22 beating out her Irish competitor only after developing her kick past the final bend.

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In 2016, we are heading into the Summer Olympic Games with doping being one of the hot topics this day in history is especially relevant. This race became controversial as the top two runners were suspected of having used banned substances to aid their performances. A year later, Dorovskikh tested positive for steroids however she kept her medal because athletes then didn’t get the same types of bans we do today. In other words, Chalmers at least could have won silver.

Many also suspected winner Romanova of doping. She died at the age of 43 under unknown circumstances.

According to a 2009 CBC profile by Canadian Running contributor Paul Gains, Chalmers, a Manitoba-born First Nations woman, was known then for working with First Nations Youth especially in encouraging fitness programs. One project she was a big part of during this era was called the International Fun and Team Athletics project– an initiative to encourage young First Nations people to participate in running event.

Chalmers now lives in Brisbane with her husband Simon Doyle (an Australian 1,500m runner) where she continues similar work. See her 1992 race below.