On this day in 1960, Yorkshire swimmer Anita Lonsbrough won a gold medal in the 200m breaststroke at the Olympic Games in Rome. She was born in York, but moved to Huddersfield aged 14, via India and Harrogate. It was at these two places she first took up swimming and then joined the Huddersfield Borough Swimming Club. She excelled in breaststroke and took this up at a competitive level. This led her to compete at the Commonwealth Games of 1958 and then the Olympics two years later. Aged just nineteen and up against the reigning champion, Wiltrud Urselman in the next lane, Lonsbrough was second behind the German halfway through the race. In the final length she managed to thrillingly overtake her and finish the race in world record time at 2.49:05. Lonsbrough went on to become a national celebrity, winning the 1962 Sports Personality of the Year and becoming a sports commentator. In 2008 she was in the crowd at the Beijing aquatics centre to watch Rebecca Adlington become the first female swimmer to win a gold medal in 48 years, since her achievement way back in 1964.
Watch newsreel coverage of Anita Lonsbrough’s return to Huddersfield with her gold medal.
Cover picture credit: Cliff from Arlington Virginia wikipedia creative commons.