|Birth Day:||May 26, 1966|
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She broke the world record for the women's 5000m at age 17.
Budd, who was born in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, South Africa, achieved fame in 1984, at the age of 17, when she broke the 5000 m world record with a time of 15:01.83. Since her performance took place in South Africa, then excluded from international athletics competition because of its apartheid policy, the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) refused to ratify Budd's time as an official world record.
The Daily Mail, a British tabloid newspaper, persuaded Budd's father to encourage her to apply for British citizenship, on the grounds that her grandfather was British, to circumvent the international sporting boycott of South Africa, so that she could compete in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. With a strong push from the Daily Mail, British citizenship was granted in short order and she moved to Guildford. Her application and arrival was controversial due to her acquiring a passport under preferential circumstances. Groups supporting the abolition of apartheid campaigned vociferously and effectively to highlight the special treatment she received; other applicants had to wait sometimes years to be granted citizenship, if at all.
She ran her first competitive race on the cinder track at Central Park in Dartford, Kent, covering 3000m in 9:02.6 seconds in a race shown live on the BBC's Grandstand programme. She ran in further races in Britain, including the UK Championships 1500m (won in 4:04) and the 3000m in the UK Olympic trials, which she won in 8:40, earning a place on the British Olympic team. In the 2000m at Crystal Palace in July 1984 she set a new world record of 5:33.15. Commenting during the race for the BBC, David Coleman exclaimed, "The message will now be flashed around the world – Zola Budd is no myth."
In the 1984 Olympics, held in Los Angeles, California, the media billed the 3000 m race as a duel between Budd and world champion Mary Decker, and few reported that a third contestant, Romanian Maricica Puică, had set the fastest time that year.
In 1985 she claimed the world record officially, while representing Great Britain, clocking 14:48.07.
Budd competed internationally for the UK in 1985 and 1986. In February 1985, she was World Cross Country Champion (beating Ingrid Kristiansen), but then went on to several track defeats. The most significant of these was her rematch with Mary Decker-Slaney at Crystal Palace in July 1985, in which she finished fourth, some 13 seconds behind Decker-Slaney.
1986 began with a defence of her World Cross Country title and a world indoor 3000m record of 8:39.79. However, after a couple of victories in fast early season times over 1500m (4:01.93) and 3000m (8:34.72), her outdoor track season brought several defeats by athletes she should have beaten easily. She competed in both the 1500m and 3000m at the European Championships but did not win a medal in either, finishing 9th and 4th respectively. It later emerged that Budd was suffering a painful leg injury for much of the season: she did not compete in 1987 as she sought treatment for this.
In 1988 Budd began to compete again with a handful of cross-country runs. However, several African nations claimed she had competed in an event in South Africa and insisted she be suspended from competition. Budd claimed she only attended the event and did not compete. The International Amateur Athletics Federation upheld this charge and suspended Budd, at which point she returned to South Africa. She retired from international competition for several years, but returned in time to represent South Africa in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, competing in the 3000m.
In 1989 Budd married Mike Pieterse. The couple have three children, daughter Lisa and twins, Azelle and Mike. On her return home to South Africa, Budd began racing again. She had an excellent season in 1991 and was the second-fastest woman in the world over 3000m. Following South Africa's re-admission to international sport, she competed in the 3000m at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona but did not qualify for the final. In 1993, she finished fourth at the World Cross Country championships but would never translate this form on to the track. In 1989 Budd published her autobiography, Zola (co-written with Hugh Eley). Budd remains the holder of numerous British and South African records at junior and senior levels, and still holds two junior world records: the mile and 3000m.
In 2002 the moment was ranked 93rd in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Sporting Moments. On an episode of Celebrity Come Dine with Me, Budd stated that to that time she had never seen footage of the collision.
Following allegations of her husband having an affair with former Miss South Africa Agatha "Pinkie" Pelser, under her married name, Pieterse and her three children relocated to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, US, in August 2008, later joined by her husband Mike. She initially had a two-year visa that allowed her to compete on the US masters' circuit. She is a volunteer coach at Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers track team and has raced in the South Carolina division of USA Track and Field, winning the women's division of the Dasani Half-Marathon during Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon on 14 February 2009 with a time of 1:20:41.
On 12 January 2012, she announced her participation in the 2012 edition of the nearly 90-kilometre (56 mi) Comrades (ultra)Marathon which was held on 3 June 2012. She would also participate in the Two Oceans Marathon during the Easter weekend of 2012 as she trained towards the Comrades Marathon which she ended up finishing in 8:06:09 (she was the 37th female finisher), earning a Bill Rowan Medal. Although she planned to also run the Comrades in 2013 she withdrew due to illness.
In South Africa today, township taxis are nicknamed "Zola Budd" for their speed. The singer Brenda Fassie (whom Time magazine called "the Madonna of the townships" in 2001) had a hit single in the 1980s with her track "Zola Budd". On 20 July 2012 BBC Radio 4 broadcast a play by Richard Monks about the political and media actions taken to bring Zola Budd to Britain with her father at the age of 17, the script implying she was unwilling and homesick.
In June 2014 Budd entered the Comrades again, hoping for an overall silver medal and for a time under 7 hours 30 minutes (7:30:00). Budd beat her time target, finishing with a time of 6:55:55 and earning a gold medal for a top 10 finish as well as a gold medal as the 1st 'veteran' (senior) finisher while coming in as the 7th female finisher overall (the first six being at least 10 years her junior). Budd dedicated her 2014 Comrades run to South African teacher Pierre Korkie, held captive in Yemen by Al-Qaeda for one year. She was stripped of her 'veteran' gold medal (but not of her cash prize for finishing 7th overall) following accusations that she did not display a small age category tag on her running vest, in addition to the veteran designation already displayed on her running bib. Budd and her coach pointed out that the veteran gold medal and silver medal were then given to two runners who also did not have the small age category tag on their running vests, and announced in September 2014 that they had started court proceedings against the Comrades Marathon Association to have her veteran win reinstated.
In March 2015, Budd won the Run Hard Columbia (SC) Marathon in a time of 3:05:27.
Zola married Mike Pieterse in 1989; she has a daughter named Lisa.
Currently, Zola Budd is 56 years, 6 months and 12 days old. Zola Budd will celebrate 57th birthday on a Friday 26th of May 2023. Below we countdown to Zola Budd upcoming birthday.
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