Romania’s two-time Olympic high jump champion went unbeaten for 150 consecutive competitions between 1957 and 1967
Iolanda Balas, Romania’s high jump great, has died at the age of 79.
The two-time Olympic champion set a total of 14 world records using her version of the scissor technique during a career which also saw her go unbeaten for 150 consecutive competitions between 1957 and 1967.
Her first Olympic gold was claimed in Rome in 1960 and her second in Tokyo four years later.
She cleared an Olympic record of 1.85m in 1960 for a mark 14 centimetres higher than any of her rivals could manage, with Britain’s Dorothy Shirley claiming joint silver thanks to her clearance of 1.71m. That remains the greatest margin of victory in a senior global championships high jump competition. Clearing 1.90m, Balas’ winning margin in Tokyo was 10 centimetres.
The Romanian was just 19 years of age when she cleared her first world record-breaking height, soaring over 1.75m in 1956.
Balas retired from competitive athletics in 1967 and went on to become an IAAF Hall of Fame inductee in 2012.