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Valerie Brisco

Photo of Valerie Brisco

Inducted: 1995, athlete

Born: July 6, 1960 - Greenwood, Mississippi

200 m - 21.81
400 m - 48.83

More than a decade before Michael Johnson galvanized world attention with his 200m/400m doubles, Valerie Brisco became the first person to perform that feat in the Olympics. Her stage was ideal: the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, just miles from her home at that time. She set American records in both individual events, running 21.81 in the 200m and 48.83 in the 400m. She won her third gold medal that year when she anchored the U.S. 4x400m relay team that set an American record with its time of 3:18.28. In 1988, Brisco won her fourth Olympic medal when she ran the third leg on the 4x400m relay team that broke the world record but finished second to the USSR team. Her previous running career barely hinted at her true abilities. She won the 1979 AIAW 200m championship while a student at California State-Northridge and was on the 4x100m relay team that won a gold medal at the Pan American Games. After marrying and giving birth to a child, she put her running career on hold. She finally underwent a rigorous training program in time to emerge as a superstar in 1984, winning the national indoor 200 and outdoor 400 titles that year. She became the first American woman to break 50 seconds in the 400 meters with her time of 49.83. In 1985, she set an indoor world record of 52.99 in the 400-yard run, and she was the national champion in the outdoor 400m in 1986. In 1987, she won a relay gold medal at the Pan American Games and a bronze medal as a member of the 4x400m relay at the World Outdoor Championships.

Records Held
World Record: 400 m - 52.99
American Record: 200 m - 21.81 (August 9, 1984 - )
American Record: 400 m - 48.83 (August 6, 1984 - )
American Record: 1,600 m relay - 3:18.28

1984 Olympics: 200 m - 21.81 (1st)
1984 Olympics: 400 m - 48.83 (1st)
1984 Olympics: 1,600 m relay - 3:18.28 (1st)
1988 Olympics: 1,600 m relay (2nd)
1987 World Outdoors: 1,600 m relay (3rd)
1979 Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women: 200 m (1st)
1984 US Indoors: 200 m (1st)
1984 US Outdoors: 400 m - 49.83 (1st)
1986 US Outdoors: 400 m (1st)
1987 Pan Am Games: (1st)

junior college: Long Beach Community College
undergraduate: California State-Northridge (Northridge, California), 1979


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