Fanny Blankers-Koen, who arrived at the 1948 London Olympic Games as a 30-year old mother of two from Utrecht, the Netherlands was, the International Olympic Committee says, “unlike anyone the Olympics had seen before or since.” Some thought she was too old. Others thought she should be home with the children. Instead, with a performance that “shattered stereotypes about age and gender for elite athletes in sports,” she proceeded to win gold medals in the 100 meter dash, the 80 meter hurdles, the 200 meter and the 4x100 meter relay. Her .7 second victory margin in the 200 meters is a record that still stands. Olympic rules at the time prohibited her from entering more events, or with the long jump and high jump, the total could have been higher. She was three months pregnant with her third child at the time.
Blankers-Koen died in 2004 as an iconic figure in the Netherlands. She was the owner of 58 national titles and 21 world records. In 1999, the The International Association of Athletics Federations named her Best Female Athlete of the 20th Century.
The Royal Dutch Mint honored the centennial of her birth on April 26, 1918 with the announcement of commemorative coins that will be available at the end of June.
As described by the mint, it is a coin with speed, designed in a dynamic style reflecting the athlete's speed and strength. The border of the coin is composed of the gradations of a stopwatch, within which Blankers-Koen is seen running a lap around the coin. The theme is carried over to the other side with its rotating line silhouette of King Willem-Alexander forming a dynamic circle. As described by the mint, the kaleidoscopic effect is of one side appearing to the other, as if the king is pushing the athlete and vice-versa.
The sterling silver, .925 fine proof weighing 15.5 grams, 33 mm in diameter, is restricted to 5,500 coins.