- Rosa Mota
Rosa Maria Correia dos Santos Mota, GCIH, GCM, pron. IPA2|'ʁɔ.zɐ 'mɔ.tɐ, (born
June 29, 1958) is a Portuguese former marathon runner, one of her country's foremost athletes. She is also considered to have been one of the best marathon runners of the 20th century.
Porto's downtown neighbourhood of Foz Velha, she started participating in cross-country races while in high-school.
In 1980 she met Pedro Pedrosa, the man that would eventually be her personal trainer for her entire career. The European Championships of 1982 was hosted by
Athens, Greece; it was the first Women's Marathon ever, and also Rosa Mota's first marathon. She was not one of the favourites for gold but she easily beat Ingrid Kristiansento win her first marathon.
This success was typical of Rosa Mota's career, as she usually finished well in the prestigious marathons. She was awarded the
bronze medalin the first Women's Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles Olympic Games. Her personal best time was 2:23:29 in the 1985 Chicago Marathon.
European Champion in 1986, and World Champion in
Rome1987, she kept on winning with the Olympic Gold Medalin Seoul 1988, where with 2 km left in the race, she attacked, winning by 13 seconds from Silver medalist Lisa Martin.
In 1990, she returned to Boston to win for a third time beating
Uta Pippig. After that she attempted to defend her European Marathon Championship in Split. She ran from the front and had a lead of over 1.5 minutes at the half way mark, but she was caught at the 35 km mark by Valentina Yegorova. They battled to the finish and Mota won by a slim margin of 5 seconds. As of 2006, winning a third European Championships marathon was unprecedented for both men and women.
Despite all her success Rosa Mota was suffering from
sciatica, and asthma as a child, yet, in 1991, she continued winning, this time the London Marathon. Later that year, Mota had to abandon the Tokyo World championships and she finally considered retirement after failing to finish the 1992 London marathon.
Mota ran 21 marathon races between 1982 and 1992. She averaged two marathons a year for a decade and won 14 of those races.
In all cases Rosa Mota contested the marathon.
Other wins include Rotterdam (1983), Tokyo (1986), Osaka (1990) and London (1991).
Considered an Ambassador of Sport, in 1998 she won the
Abebe Bikila Awardfor contributions to the development of long-distance race training. The trophy was awarded at the end of the International Race for Friendship, sponsored by the United Nations, taking place in the morning before the New York City Marathon.
"A nossa Rosinha" (English: "Our little Rose") as she is sometimes called in her homeland, was one of the most popular personalities of Portuguese sport in the late 20th century, alongside
Eusébio, Carlos Lopesand Luís Figo.
Rosa Mota carried the
Olympic Flamealong the roads of Athens before the 2004 Summer Olympicsin Greece.
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