Mary Rand is a former British track and field athlete. She is known for being the first British woman to win an Olympic gold medal for track and field. She has also won a gold medal for the Long Jump at the Commonwealth games in 1966. Aside from that, Rand also has medals from the European Championships.
Born to Eric and Hilda Bignal, Rand adapted her current surname after she married and later on divorced oarsman Sid Rand. When she was 16, the Millfield School offered her a scholarship for athletics. She accepted it and excelled in sporting events including high jumps, long jumps and hurdles.
When she was 17, Rand set a British record of 4046 points in a pentathlon. In 1958, she won a silver medal at the Commonwealth games after a successful long jump. She also came in seventh in the pentathlon event at the European championships. She accomplished that, a month after the Commonwealth games.
The 1960 Olympics in Rome saw Rand qualify for the long jump by clearing a height of 6.33 meters. Had that height been duplicated in the actual event, she would have gone home with the silver. Sadly, she fouled two of her three jumps and she finished at number 9 instead.
She won her Olympic gold at the 1964 Olympics when she jumped a length of 6.76 meters. That jump also helped her set a world record. She also won a silver medal during the pentathlon of the same Olympics.
In 1965, Rand was awarded an MBE and was voted by BBC as the Sports Personality of the Year.