Profile Jarmila Kratochvílová was born on 26 January 1951 in Czechoslovakia. She was a late-developing 400m runner who was plagued by injuries and illness throughout her career. Always in the shadow of Marita Koch, she finally had her moment of fame in August 1983 at the inaugural Athletics World Championships.
Earlier, at the 1980 Olympics and the 1982 European Championships, Kratochvílová came second to Marita Koch in the 400m event. However, in 1983, Koch only participated in the 200m, having missed training through injury before the World Championships. Kratochvílová took advantage of the opportunity and, at the age of 32, won the double in the middle distances claiming both the 400m and the 800m world titles in Helsinki. On 10 August 1983, she became the first female to break the 48 second barrier in the 400m, setting a world record time of 47.99s. One day earlier, on 9 August, Kratochvílová won the 800m World Championship title in a record time of 1:54.68.
Two weeks earlier, Kratochvílová had boosted her confidence by breaking the 800m world record in Munich. More than two decades later, her world record time of 1:53.28 still remains.