|Full name Dorothy Grace Manley|
Name Dorothy Manley
Weight 51 kg
|Country United Kingdom|
Height 1.65 m
Role Olympic athlete
|Born 29 April 1927 (age 88) (1927-04-29) Manor Park, London|
Club Essex Ladies Athletic Club
Olympic finals 1948 Summer Olympics: 100m – Silver
Olympic medals Athletics at the 1948 Summer Olympics – Women's 100 metres
Dorothy Gladys Manley (later Hall, then Parlett; born 29 April 1927) is a British sprint runner. She competed in the 1948 Summer Olympics, held in London, in the 100 metres where she won the silver medal with a time of 12.2 seconds. She was also a medallist in the 1950 British Empire Games, and the 1950 European Athletics Championships.
Manley was born in Manor Park, London, on 29 April 1927. She was initially introduced into athletics by one of her school teachers and worked her way up from the school, to the district and then to running for her county before the Second World War. Contrary to reports, she was not evacuated during the war. In 1942 she competed in an athletics meeting at Ashton playing fields where she ran in the 200 metres for the first time.
She raced for the Essex Ladies athletics club. Manley was added to a national list of potential Olympians in late 1947, and assigned to train with Sandy Duncan. She began her training for the 1948 Summer Olympics early in March 1948, training on the track four times a week, but never using the gym. Manley described the trials as a "fiasco", having finished fifth at the Women's Amateur Athletic Association Championships, but was still picked to represent the United Kingdom. She was working full-time during 1948 for the Suez Canal Company as a typist, and used her summer holidays to attend the games although the leave was unpaid by her employer.
Her mother made her running vest and shorts for the Games, but she was given the blazer and skirt for the opening ceremony. While at the Games, she travelled to and from Wembley on the London Underground, as she was sharing a room with two other athletes near Eccleston Square in central London.
She qualified for the women's 100 metres final, and finished in second place, winning the silver medal in her first international athletics event. Fanny Blankers-Koen won the gold medal in first place with a time of 11.9, while Manley's time was 12.2, just ahead of Shirley Strickland de la Hunty, who registered the same time. Manley described her start in the race as the "best of her life", having described her normal starts as notoriously bad. She thought that this may have actually distracted her as her start was so good that she was expecting the race to be recalled.
She won the WAAA Championships title for 200 m at the 1950 meeting at White City Stadium, which was her only WAAA title. She retired from athletics in 1952 after suffering from a thyroid condition. At the 1950 British Empire Games in New Zealand, she was asked after arrival if she would like to compete in the high jump – only then finding out that she had been entered in the event without her knowledge. With minimal training in the time available, she competed in the event and finished in fourth position behind Dorothy Tyler, Bertha Crowther and Noelene Swinton. She was part of the women's relay teams at the Games, and won silver in the 660 yards relay and bronze in the 440 yards relay. The team won gold in the 4×100 m relay at the 1950 European Athletics Championships. She described that race as particularly exciting as they had beaten the Dutch team, which included Fanny Blankers-Koen.
Manley married twice, first in 1949 to Peter Hall, who died in 1973, and then in 1979 to John Parlett, a middle distance runner she knew back from the 1948 Olympics. As of 2012 Manley had three children, five grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.