Zola Budd Rising Above Embarrassment

By: Jennifer Curra - October 8, 2013

Who says age is everything? Zola Budd, the famous 47-year-old athlete, has been as well known for a past Olympic mishap as she has for her recent success. Zola made headlines during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics due to her unfortunate collision with U.S. runner Mary Decker. Many still remember the embarrassing moment and use the event to promote perseverance in spite of failures.

Zola Budd did not use the event to withdraw from the sport she loves, but rather continued training. The following video shows Zola as a humble athlete devoted to her sport, her family, and her home of South Africa. In this video Zola speaks with Cape Talk’s Africa Melane on April 4, 2012, about her childhood growing up, love for South Africa, family, food cravings, and her career. She still proclaims that South Africa “will always be her home” even though she has spent several years in the United States.

Zola is a South African by birth; however, she was unable to compete as a South African in the Olympics due to an international boycott of the country during the time of her eligibility. Her father was able to oversee the process of Zola being granted British Citizenship, which allowed Zola to compete in the 1984 Olympics.

The following video shows Zola Budd running at the Crystal Palace on July 13,1984, before she tripped Mary Decker, which would later partially define her career.

Zola Budd moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and is now responsible for a running program aimed at elementary and middle school children. She recently shared her advice to other up-and-coming would-be runners.

“Running is just a part of your life, not your (whole) life. Whatever happens, it’s fine. Just go along with the flow. Take the bad runs with the good runs. Make an experience of it. Don’t be too goal-oriented,” Zola Budd said.

[Image Via YouTube]
Jennifer Curra

About the Author

Jennifer CurraJennifer holds a bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in health administration where she now spends her time writing fantasy when she is not with her family and friends.

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  • Well

    I like Zola and she is very right. Life is not about winning. It is about persevering and how we treat others. Once we are dead, no one will really remember what we did. They will only remember how we made them feel.

    I have also learned life is a big illusion. Some of the people that we think are so wonderful are actually very terrible people. Some of the people we think are so terrible really aren’t that bad. For example, I know a DA and a felon. The DA is viewed as this upstanding citizen but behind closed doors he is actually a terrible person. He sets people up, withholds evidence, and loves to destroy people’s lives. He feels so bad about who he is and uses his position to make himself feel better about himself. It is a power thing. The felon made one mistake in life and ended up in prison, but I know for a fact he has saved people’s lives and really has never harmed a soul in life. Yet to the public, the DA is viewed as good and the felon as bad.

    God knows the truth about those two men though. When we die, I have this feeling that God is going to want to know two basic things: Did I trust in him and how did I treat others. Did I persevere with my trust? Did I treat others with mercy, compassion, and love.

    Persevere with trust and treat others well. That is what life is about.

  • Tired

    She did not trip Mary Decker. Even Decker has been quoted saying that. What an useless article.