For a moment Alison Rand displays a touching lack of awe for the Olympic medals that put her mother Mary Rand among the world’d supreme athletes. 29th October 1964 (Image: Mirrorpix)

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As we celebrate 120 years of women at the Olympics at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, we look back at a pivotal female athlete who competed at the Tokyo Games of 1964.

Mary Rand, the iconic British track and field athlete, was integral for paving the way for women in athletics.

Her performance at the 1964 games saw her walk away with a gold in the long jump and made her the first ever British woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a track and field event.

After finishing 9th in the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, she spent four years improving her craft and entered the Tokyo Games a much improved athlete.

She jumped a world record of 6.76 metres to win her gold but her Olympic medals at this Games did not stop there. Rand also came home with silver in the Pentathlon and won a bronze as part of the relay team.

Olympic athlete Mary Rand, her husband Sidney and daughter Alison pictured during their civic drive through Henley. 3rd November 1964.

Such an iconic athlete as she was, she was awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 1964, her achievements at the games being recognised by all sportspeople and fans across Britain.

The awards didn’t stop there and thanks to her stellar performances at the Games, she was awarded an MBE in 1965, her career being cut short in 1968 due to an injury sustained just prior to the Olympic Games in Mexico City, leading to her retirement later that year.

Inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009, she was cemented as one of the Golden Girls of athletics and an all time British great.

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