Her 2:00.5 stood from 1968 to 1971. YOu can watch highlights from the race below.
I was doing some research on her and found in wikipeida something that stunned me. It says she went to the Olympics in 1968 as the heavy favorite and was leading her semifinal but just stepped off the track.
She came to the 1968 Olympics as a favorite, but due to the pressure of being the favorite she gave up her semifinal – after leading it for 300 m she suddenly stepped off the track, walked back to the start, sat down and took off her shoes. She set her personal best in 800 m in finishing fifth in the final at 1972 Olympics.
Oldtimers, is what wikipedia wrote true? Nothing was wrong, she just stepped off the track? Or had she been battling an injury of some sort? Please tell us.
LRC update. People have said she wasn't leading when she stepped off. Also MadelineMnning's autobiography talks about what happened.
From Madeline Manning Jackson's biography Running For Jesus:
I just knew I could hold my pace, and even if a couple of runners passed me, I had enough left to finish among the qualifiers for the finals. Then I began wondering about Vera. I glanced around. My lead was secure but Vera wasn't even second. I couldn't afford to keep looking behind me, but I took one more long glance as I moved into the last curve. No Vera. She wasn't going to challenge me for the lead. She must be running just hard enough to barely qualify and is saving herself for the final, I told myself. But i was wrong. As I crossed the finish line I turned around and looked through all the runners and Vera wasn't there.
Doris Brown, waiting to run in the next heat, had watched our race. What happened to Vera? I asked her, puffing. Then I noticed some of Vera's teammates crying. What's wrong with everybody, Doris? I don't know, mad, Doris said. Vera stopped after 300 meters and just walked off the track and right out of the stadium.
I could hardly believe it. I knew she had a lot of pressure, but she was too tough an athlete to quit a race. No one knew what happened or why. That night i learned that her coach had followed her out of the stadium and up to the footbridge that connected the practice track and the stadium. He saw her climbing the fence on the bridge and caught her just before she tried to jump to her death. It really shook me up. I wanted badly to see her, but they were not letting her talk to anyone ...
The next day, as I left the olympic village to go for the 800 meter finals with Doris ... we noticed Vera with her coach. She was crying. I left the other girls and ran to her.
How are you feeling? I asked, she didn't speak much English but she shrugged and nodded, trying hard to hold back her tears. I took her hands in mine, and thought I knew she wouldn't understand every word, I'd hope she'd understand where i was coming from. She looked amazed that I would break my concentration on the finals just to talk to her. I know that you are a great athlete, I said. I want to see you go back and get yourself together and get your mind together. Pray to God for strength, and when you come back, you'll come out fighting and be the runnerI know you are. She cried openly and then nodded as we hugged each other.
A year later at the Europe vs. Americas games in Germany I ran into Vera's coach. How is she? I asked. She's here, he told me. When you stopped to talk to her before your own finals, it brought tears to my eyes. If you hadn't done that, I'm sure she would have given up. It was the turning point in her life. She's back in training, and while she's not in top shape yet, she's coming back. By then she had seen me and ran up to hug me. 3 years later in Munich she was again among the top 5 800 meter women in the world
Here is her WR run.
World Athletics article.