Marilyn Fay Neufville (born 16 November 1952) is a retired sprint runner who was active between 1967 and 1971. Neufville broke the world record in the 400 m and won four gold medals and one bronze in various regional championships. Born in Jamaica, she emigrated at eight years old to Great Britain.
Marilyn Neufville in 1970
|Born||16 November 1952|
Hectors River, Portland, Jamaica
|Height||1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)|
|Weight||55 kg (121 lb)|
|Club||California Golden Bears, Berkeley|
Marilyn gained three Women's AAA titles as a junior in the 100 yds and 150 yds in the under 15s category in 1967 and won the 220 yds in the under 17 category in 1968. In 1969, she was second at the Women's AAA Championships behind Dorothy Hyman in the 200 m, where she ran 24.3 seconds. Marilyn first appeared on the international scene in September 1969, when she ran the 4 × 400 m in a Great Britain vs West Germany match in Hamburg. In March 1970, she competed for Great Britain in the European Indoor Athletics Championships and won gold over 400 m in 53.01, breaking her outdoor PB of 54.2 and the world indoor record, as well as the UK National Junior Indoor Record which stood until February 2019 when Amber Anning ran 53.00 dead. Later in 1970, she won the WAAA outdoor title at the same distance in 52.6.
In the summer, before the 1970 British Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh Marilyn chose to represent her country of birth, Jamaica over her country of residence. This caused wide controversy with many members of the British public saying she had betrayed where she was trained and considered her switch like treason. At the Commonwealth Games Neufville established a new world record by improving the preceding mark previously held by the Frenchwomen Colette Besson and Nicole Duclos with 51.0 (electronically timed as 51.02) at the age of 17. This made her the first and so far only Jamaican female athlete to break an outdoor world record. In 1970, she gained more recognition at ISTAF athletics meet in Berlin then at the AAA championships running 52.6 in front of Germany’s Christel Frese and Inge Eckhoff. In 1971, in the indoor AAA championships, Marilyn was beaten by Jannette Champion which reversed the result of the previous year. The same year, in the Pan-American Championships in Cali, she gained her third gold medal and bronze in the 4 × 400 m. At the 1971 Central American and Caribbean Championships she won a fourth gold medal. Her successes earned her two Jamaica Sportswoman of the year awards in 1970 and 1971. In 1972, she enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley. She is still ranked number 3 on the school's all-time list. After battling with injuries Marilyn returned at the 1974 British Commonwealth Games but was a shadow of her former self only finishing sixth in the 400 m final. In the 1976 Summer Olympics Neufville made her Olympic debut finishing fourth in her heat but had to pull out of her round 2 heat through injury.
European Athletics Indoor Championships
British Commonwealth Games
- Gold medal 400 m
- 5th place 4 × 100 m
- 6th in the 400 m
Central American and Caribbean Championships
- The 400 m world record of 51.02 on 23 July 1970 in Edinburgh (improvement of the world record set by Colette Besson and Nicole Duclos), was equalled by Monika Zehrt and Mona-Lisa Pursiainen then beaten by Irena Szewińska in 1974.
- 400 m world indoor record in 53.01 in March 1971 in Vienna broken by Nadezhda Ilyina in 1974.
- Jonathan Musere. British-Jamaican Marilyn Neufville: Youthfullness, Sprint World Records, Controversy, and Injuries Archived 27 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine. voices.yahoo.com
- EUROPEAN INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (WOMEN). gbrathletics.com
- Neil O. Clayton (2 July 2012) The Women’s 400m: More Than 25 Years of Brilliance Archived 9 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. caribbeantracklife.com
- Marilyn Neufville. sports-reference.com
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 April 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Schiot, Molly (2016). Game changers : the unsung heroines of sports history. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781501137099.