Rosa Mota of Portugal is often considered the greatest female marathoner of all-time. Mota ran 21 marathon races between 1982 and 1992 and won 14 of them. She is also the only person, as of 2017, to hold concurrent European, World, and Olympic marathon titles, which she accomplished after winning the 1988 Olympic marathon. Mota started out as a cross-country runner but switched to marathon in the early 1980s and ran her first marathon at the 1982 European Championships, which she won. She finished fourth at the 1983 Worlds, which was the worst placement of all her marathons she finished. Next year Mota won bronze at the Olympic Games and in 1986 defended her European title. She won gold at the 1987 Worlds and, at the 1988 Olympics, became the first Portuguese woman to win Olympic gold. In 1990 she won her third consecutive European title. She last competed at a major international at the 1991 Worlds, failing to finish.
In major city marathons, Mota won Boston in 1987-88 and 1990; Chicago in 1983-84; London in 1991; Rotterdam in 1982; and Osaka in 1990. She was also second at Los Angeles in 1989 and third at Chicago in 1985. In all, she failed to finish in only 3 of her 21 marathons. In 1998, Mota was awarded the Abebe Bikila Award for contributions to the development of long-distance training and in 2000 she received the Olympic Order in Silver.
Personal Bests: 3,000 – 8:53.84 (1984); Mar – 2-23:29 (1985).
Athlete Olympic Results Content