Voula Patoulidou

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Paraskevi ("Voula") Patoulidou (, born March 29, 1965) was born in Tripotamo, near Florina. A prolific athlete, Patoulidou throughout her athletics career competed in the 100 metres, 100 metres hurdles and in the long jump events. Patoulidou became a Greek sporting legend in 1992, when she was the surprise winner of the Women's 100 m hurdles race at the Olympic Games in Barcelona. She was the candidate for the Prefecture of Thessaloniki in the local elections of Autumn 2006 supported by the opposition party of PASOK, but lost the election to Panagiotis Psomiadis.

Barcelona 1992

On August 5, 1992, Patoulidou was celebrating for having qualifed for the final in the 100 m hurdles by improving her personal best from 12.96 (set in the qualifying round) to 12.88 seconds in the semi-finals. This success made her the first Greek woman ever to reach a track final in the Olympic Games, a great feat in its own right.

One day later, however, one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Olympic Games was to take place. The clear favourite of the 100 m hurdles final, Gail Devers of the United States, made a mistake and tripped on the last hurdle. Patoulidou took advantage and lunged her body forward for the finishing line. Having crossed the line in 12.64 seconds (a Greek national record that still stands), Patoulidou immediately threw her hands in the air celebrating what she thought was a silver medal. When she watched the replay of the race on the stadium's big screen and...
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