The female long-jumper
Lorna Lee-Price, age 81
“1948 was the first year that the Olympic women’s long jump competition took place. Back then running wasn’t seen as feminine, women weren’t even allowed to run in the 400 metres. I’d never even done a long jump till I was 16. The gym mistress at Wycombe High School asked me to have a go so I ran up, took a jump and cleared the pit completely – the next year I was chosen to compete at The Games. When I opened the letter telling me, I froze. I couldn’t believe it, it was such a great honour. I was the baby of the athletics team: just a fortnight over my 17th birthday when the Games took place.
My father spent £10, which was a lot of money in those days, for a pair of customised long jump spikes. They were beautiful black leather and made to measure, the fit was so good I couldn’t feel that I was wearing them.
Our uniform was a pair of plain satin shorts and a running vest, but we had to sew on red white and blue ribbons and a Union Jack ourselves. There were a lot of rules and regulations about the uniform, the shorts had to be four inches off the ground when kneeling, meaning there wasn’t much room for movement when jumping. I sneakily popped an inch and a half slit between the white and red ribbons on the shorts, the team manager declared me a ‘brazen hussy’ - I wonder what she would think if she were alive to see the outfits that the women run in now!”
For British Airways. Olympic 1948 Portraits.