JENNIFER LAMY (28 Feb 1949 - )
Jenny Lamy was born in Wagga Wagga before moving to Sydney in 1953 where her athletic career began in the 1960’s. Her first club was Manly but she later transferred to Northern Suburbs where she competed for most of her athletic career.
Throughout most of her life as an athlete she was coached by Ken Steward, with former Trinidad Olympian Mike Agostini in the final years.
By 1965, Jenny was the outstanding junior sprinter in New South Wales. In January of that year she ran 10.5 secs for 100 yards in Sydney - ranking her number one in not only NSW but also nationally for the year. She won the junior 100 yards title at the Nationals in Perth in March.
She ran in both senior and junior national championships in Sydney in 1966 as the open events were also the selection trials for the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica.
Jenny won the junior 100 yards in 10.7 secs and finished third in the senior race in a blanket finish won by Queensland’s Joan Henricksen in 10.4 secs. She also won the junior long jump title.
Jenny was lucky enough to be selected for Kingston and made it to the final of the 100 yards – finishing a very creditable fourth in another very close finish. She clocked 10.8 secs, the same as the silver medallist from Canada Irene Poitrowski – reflecting just how tight the finish was.
She was also entered in the 220 yards even though she did not run it at the Nationals. It proved to be an inspired selection decision – for Jenny won the silver medal behind team mate Di Burge with both athletes recording 23.8 seconds. She then ran the opening leg of the 4x110 yards relay team which won gold. It was an impressive Games for a 17 year old at her first international.
The Nationals were mostly separated in those days and the women’s edition for 1967 was held on the North Hobart Oval. It was the first occasion on which they had been contested over metric distances. Once again in a close finish Jenny finished second to Burge in the 100 metres in 11.6 secs – again the same time for both. But Nationals gold was finally Jenny’s when she defeated Olympian Joyce Bennett to win the 200 metres in 23.9 seconds.
Jenny was selected for the British Commonwealth team to compete in the prestigious match against the USA in Los Angeles where she finished sixth in the 100 metres.
The 1968 Nationals were in Adelaide and Jenny finished only fifth in a hotly contested 100 metres in 11.6 secs but did better in the 200 metres to finish third in 23.3 secs. It was enough to gain her selection for the Mexico Olympics – an opportunity she was to relish.
In Mexico, Jenny was in great form - running a 23.19 second personal best in her heat, improving even further in her semi-final, recording 22.89 secs. On both occasions she was second behind the classy Barbara Ferrell of the United States.
In the final Jenny edged another hundredth from her now impressive and world class personal best – but the even better news was that it was also enough for the bronze medal behind Poland’s Irena Szewinska and Aussie team mate Raelene Boyle.
Jenny capped a fine Games by running the opening leg in the 4x100 metres relay in both heat and final, in which Australia finished fifth in 43.50 secs.
In 1969 Jenny finally took the senior sprint double in Brisbane winning in 11.1 and 23.1 secs and added a third gold medal in the relay as part of the NSW team.
With no world championships in those days, the only international competition for Jenny that year was the inaugural Pacific Conference Games in Tokyo, Japan where she finished fourth in the 100 metres and was a member of the winning 4x100 metres relay team.
In 1970 there was a predictable selection for the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland. She won her heat in 11.81 secs but found 11.75 and fifth place not enough to make the final of the 100 metres. As was often the case with Jenny, she ran more impressively over 200 metres finishing sixth in the final in 23.62 secs. She was again chosen as lead off for the 4x100 metres relay team which went onto win gold in 44.14 secs.
The 1970/71 season was going well for Jenny including a run of 11.4 secs in January when a hamstring injury forced her to miss the State and National championships.
Jenny’s best for 1972 was just 11.9 secs in January and she missed the Nationals and any chance of making the team for the Munich Olympics. She did not then return to the track until the 1973/74 season.
But by late 1973 she was back in top form - finishing third in the selection trials for the 1974 Commonwealth Games with 11.2 seconds for the 100 metres.
The 1974 Games were in Christchurch, New Zealand and Jenny made it to the final of the 100 metres where she finished eighth. Once again in her familiar role as lead-off runner in the 4x100m relay, she gained her third consecutive relay gold medal as Australia won in 43.51 secs.
Jenny finished the season with a 24.1 second 200 metres for third place at the women’s Nationals in Adelaide and a relay win with the NSW team. It was time for Jenny to hang up the spikes. Throughout her career she had shown her versatility - not only competing in the sprints but also running hurdles, long jumping and throwing the shot – actually winning the state title in 1969.
It brought down the curtain on a significant career capped by Olympic bronze and four Commonwealth medals – three gold and a silver but also including three individual national championships both at senior and junior level.
Paul Jenes OAM
Athletics Australia Statistician
Acknowledgements: Ray White & Malcolm Harrison, 100 Years of the NSWAAA; Paul Jenes, Fields of Green, Lanes of Gold; Harry Gordon, Australia and the Olympic Games; Paul Jenes & Peter Hamilton, Australian Athletic Results; AEEA, 500 Biografias de Atletas Femeninas, Brian Roe