The 1996 Olympic champion and 1991 world champion (as Lyudmila Narozhilenko, representing the URS), Sweden’s Ludmila Engquist won the first ever gold medal for a female athlete from her country by taking the 100m hurdles in a season’s best of 12.50, the second best performance of the year.
The race had 3 false starts, 2 from the 1996 Olympic bronze medallist, France’s Patricia Girard, costing her a disqualification, and the other from the 1996 silver medallist, Slovenia’s Brigita Bukovec.
In the definitive start, Jamaican Michelle Freeman got to the initial hurdle first. Engquist, who didn’t have such a good start, caught her at the fifth obstacle, and the two of them, along with the 1997 world leader, Bulgarian Svetla Dimitrova, ran a very even race.
After the last obstacle Engquist was clearly ahead, with Freeman in second place, but Dimitrova had a very strong finish, and took the silver medal away. Dimitrova’s time was 12.58, her second performance of 1997, after she ran 12.36 in Bulgaria.
Bukovec was fourth in a season’s best of 12.69, and Jamaican Dianne Rose was fifth with 12.87.