MARY TERESA SLANEY (formerly TABB, née DECKER; born August 4, 1958) is a retired American middle-distance runner. During her career, she won gold medals in the 1500 meters and 3000 meters at the 1983 World Championships , and was the world record holder in the mile , 5000 meters and 10,000 meters . In total, she set 17 official and unofficial world records , including being the first woman in history to break 4:20 for the mile . She also set 36 US national records at distances ranging from 800 meters to 10,000 meters, and has held the US record in the mile, 2000 meters and 3000 meters since the early 1980s, while her 1500 meters record stood for 32 years. In 2003, she was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame .
* 1 Biography
* 2 Career
* 2.1 Career peak
* 3 The 1984 Olympic incident * 4 Doping controversy * 5 Later life * 6 ElliptiGO Racing * 7 International competitions * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links
She joined her school athletics club and a local track club, and completely immersed herself in running, for which she would pay an injury-laden price later in her career. At age 12, she completed a marathon and four middle- and long-distance races in one week, ending the week with an appendectomy operation.
In her early teens, Decker was already recognized as a world-class
runner. Unable to attend the 1972 Olympics as she was too young, the
pigtailed 89 pounds (40 kg) 14-year-old nicknamed "Little Mary
Decker," won international acclaim in 1973 with a win in the 800
meters at a US-Soviet meet in
By the end of 1972, Decker was ranked first in the
By the end of 1974, she had developed a case of the muscle condition compartment syndrome . This resulted in a series of injuries, which meant that she did not compete in the 1976 Olympics , because of stress fractures in her lower leg. In 1978 she had an operation to try to cure compartment syndrome, which kept her out of competition for a period. After recovering from surgery, she spent two seasons at the University of Colorado at Boulder on a track scholarship. In 1979, she became the second American woman (the first was Francie Larrieu ) to break the 4:30 mile in American record time. Decker was the first woman to break the 4:20 barrier for the mile in 1980 when she ran it in 4:17.55. However, this time was never ratified by the IAAF. In 1981 she married fellow American distance runner Ron Tabb . The couple divorced in 1983. In 1982, under the name Mary Tabb, she ran the mile in 4:18.08, breaking the official record of 4:20.89 by the Soviet Lyudmila Veselkova This time was ratified. She did not compete for an Olympic medal due to the U.S.-led 1980 Summer Olympics boycott . She did however receive one of 461 Congressional Gold Medals created especially for the spurned athletes.
In 1982 Decker-Tabb set six world records, at distances ranging from the mile run to 10,000 meters . She received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.
The following year she achieved the "Double Decker," winning both
the 1500 meters and 3000 meters events at the World Championships in
THE 1984 OLYMPIC INCIDENT
Decker was heavily favored to win a gold medal in the 3000 meters run
1984 Summer Olympics , held at
Decker and Budd next met in July 1985, in a 3000 meters race at
Crystal Palace National Sports Centre
Decker had a successful 1985 season, winning twelve mile and 3000 meters races in the European athletics calendar, which included a new official world record for the women\'s mile of 4:16.71 in Zurich ( Natalya Artyomova 's 4:15.8 in 1984, not being ratified by the IAAF). Since that race in 1985, her time has only been bettered on four occasions. That race in Zurich also matched her with both of the other principle athletes from the Olympic race, Slaney vanquishing both Puica and Budd who themselves ran times that until July 9, 2017 also ranked in the top 10 of all time .
She sat out the 1986 season to give birth to her only child, daughter Ashley Lynn (born May 30, 1986), but missed the 1987 season due to injury. She qualified for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea , but failed to win a medal. She did not qualify for the 1992 Games .
In 1996, at the age of 37, as she qualified for the 5000 meters at
Decker and her lawyers contended that the T/E ratio test is unreliable for women, especially women in their late 30s or older who are taking birth control pills . In the meantime, Decker was eliminated in the heats at the Olympics.
In June 1997, the IAAF banned Decker from competition. In September 1999, a USATF panel reinstated her. The IAAF cleared her to compete but took the case to arbitration . In April 1999, the arbitration panel ruled against her, after which the IAAF – through a retroactive ban, even though she was cleared to compete – stripped her of a silver medal she had won in the 1500 meters at the 1997 World Indoor Championships .
In April 1999, Decker filed suit against both the IAAF and the U.S. Olympic Committee which administered the test, arguing that the test is flawed and cannot distinguish between androgens caused by the use of banned substances and androgens resulting from the use of birth control pills. The court ruled that it had no jurisdiction, a decision that was upheld on appeal.
The (T/E) ratio test has seen its standards tightened to a 4:1 ratio, instead of the previous 6:1 ratio, and laboratories now also run a carbon isotope ratio test (CIR) if the ratio is unusually high.
Throughout her later career, Decker had suffered a series of stress
induced fractures. After the loss of her 1999 legal case, she agreed
to have a series of 30+ orthopedic procedures. Mainly on her legs and
feet, they were an attempt to enable her to run competitively in
marathons. However, the surgery increased the occurrence of the
problems. As a result, she retired with her husband to a 55-acre (22
ha) property in
In 2012, Decker's injuries led her to start riding the ElliptiGO
elliptical bicycle, saying that it gave her the same feeling as her
hard running workouts used to. In September 2012, she competed in the
ElliptiGO World Championships race up
YEAR COMPETITION VENUE POSITION EVENT NOTES
REPRESENTING UNITED STATES
1979 Pan American Games San Juan , Puerto Rico 1st 1500 m 4:05.7
1st 3000 m 8:34.62
Grand Prix Final
10th 3000 m 8:47.13
Grand Prix Final
World Indoor Championships
2013 World Championships San Diego, United States 3rd 1:45.27
2014 World Championships San Diego, United States 3rd 1:31.22
2015 World Championships San Diego, United States 2nd 1:30.54
(H) INDICATES OVERALL POSITION IN QUALIFYING HEATS. DNF = DID NOT FINISH. DQ = DISQUALIFIED.
* ^ A B C D Mary Decker-Slaney. Sports Reference