Mary Denise BIGNAL-RAND

Great Britain GBR

Athletics

  • Olympic Medals
    1 G
    1 S
    1 B
  • Games participations
    2
  • First Olympic Games
    Rome 1960
  • Year of Birth
    1940
Olympic Results

Biography

Mary Denise BIGNAL-RAND

After finishing second in the English Schools long jump in 1955, Mary Bignall accepted a sports scholarship to Millfield School, where she developed her precocious talents. In 1957, as a 17-year-old schoolgirl, she set an English record in her first ever pentathlon competition and later in the season made her international debut as a high jumper.

In 1958, after leaving Millfield, she joined the London Olympiads AC and finished second in the long jump and fifth in the high jump at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. In the pentathlon at the European Championships, although finishing no higher than seventh, she posted a new British record of 4466 points. In 1959 she became the first British woman long jumper to clear 20 feet, with a new-British record of 20-4 (6.20 m), and improved her pentathlon record to 4679 points.

In May 1960 Bignall added another inch to her British long jump record and a gold medal at the Rome Olympics in August seemed a distinct possibility. Hopes were raised further when she led the qualifiers in Rome at 6.33 (20-9¼) but things went drastically wrong in the final. She ran through the pit on her first two attempts and a half-hearted last jump left her back in ninth place with a performance more than a foot behind her qualifying jump. Although she finished fourth in the 80 metres hurdles, the Rome Olympics were a stunning disappointment.

Fortunately she had the character to put this setback behind her and produced some superlative performances during the four years she had to wait before getting a second chance of Olympic honors. After the Rome Games she married the Olympic oarsman Sidney Rand, and only four months after the birth of their daughter, Mary Rand was winning bronze medals in the long jump and the 4×100 metres relay (with Ann Packer, Dorothy Hyman, and Daphne Arden) at the 1962 European Championships. In 1963 she twice improved both her British long jump and pentathlon records and after bettering each record again in the summer of 1964, she went to Tokyo in October to try again for Olympic gold.

Olympic Results

More results
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Tokyo 1964

B
4 x 100 metres Relay
4 x 100 metres Relay Athletics
G
Long Jump
Long Jump Athletics
S
Pentathlon
Pentathlon Athletics
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Rome 1960

#4
80 metres Hurdles
80 metres Hurdles Athletics
#AC
4 x 100 metres Relay
4 x 100 metres Relay Athletics
#9
Long Jump
Long Jump Athletics