1923 — 2013
Gladys Clarke

"I've come this far, I'm throwing regardless of how I feel"

Ten years after Gladys Lunn competed for the final time for GB, 26 year old Gladys Clarke, throwing a wooden javelin, won the 1948 Olympic javelin trials with a throw of 111ft 2” (around 33.9m).

This distance would have placed her 12th in the final but, injured in the run-up to the Olympics, she finished 15th, throwing 29.59m. Herma Bauma of Austria won, with an Olympic record of 45.57m.

Interviewed in 2012 Gladys recalled; “You had to find your own shorts… and you had no footwear or anything like that. You had to find all those.” She was back at work the Monday after the Olympics and “not one word was said… The people where I worked weren’t interested in sport whatsoever.”

Birchfield Women’s club had very little field equipment in 1948. Their minutes recorded “this year we purchased a Javelin-which, as everyone knows, is a delicate affair in the hands of a beginner- and it is to be hoped that funds will be available to purchase another one this coming year. “

A year later; “Our assets continue to grow-we have a full flight of Hurdles and an aluminium javelin….. this will eventually cost us about £2, and our Discus must be replaced as it is badly broken and beyond further use. Miss Lunn kindly gave us her own Javelin, but unfortunately this also got broken in training”

Club subscriptions for seniors that year were 2s, so the aluminium javelin cost the equivalent of 20 senior subs for that year.