Google honors Olympic runner Fanny Blankers-Koen, 'The Flying Housewife'

Who is Fanny Blankers-Koen? Meet the incredible athlete honoured in today's Google Doodle

Fanny Blankers-Koen, "an unexpected athlete" who made history in the Olympic games, competing for the Netherlands, is the subject of a Google Doodle honoring her 100th birthday.

Incredibly, she came home from the 1948 Olympics with four gold medals, being the first woman to do so, and all in one year.

She began competing in running races when she was 17, in 1935 and soon made the Dutch team as a sprinter, because at the time 800m races were still considered too strenuous for women to run.

Her hopes to medal during the 1940 Olympics were dashed when the Helsinki Games were canceled on May 2, 1940, due to World War II - a week before German troops invaded the Netherlands. She arrived in London as the World record holder in no fewer than six different events. The record still stands today, and she was eventually given the nickname "The Flying Housewife".

The events she selected were among the most fiercely-contested. She also wrote an autobiography in 1949 with help from her husband, Jan, who passed in 1977. They were for the 100m, the 200m, the 80m hurdles and the 4×100 m relay. The 30-year-old competed regardless and crushed her opponents in the women's 200m by 0.7 seconds, which was the highest margin in Olympics 200m history.

If it weren't for a rule that prevented women from participating in more than three individual events, as CNN reported, Blankers-Koen may have eyed even more medals.

Then she won her last medal in August 1955 in the shot put, before spending the rest of her life promoting women's athletics. She returned home not to global superstardom and millions in endorsements deals, but her normal life as a wife and mother (and a new bicycle).

She won the 100m easily, and, with an Olympic gold medal to her name, almost withdrew from her other events to return home.

She was pregnant with her third child at the time, as Serena Williams was when she won Wimbledon in 2017, which people saw as a great achievement as well.

"All I did was win some foot races", Blankers-Koen also said of her wins, according to the book A Lifetime of Training for Just Ten Seconds: Olympians in Their Own Words. She retired from athletic competition in 1955 and was named "Female Athlete of the Century" by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

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