The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)
Erskine saw battle with ‘The Flying Housewife’
Margaret Erskine was privileged during her athletics career to compete against Fanny Blankers-Koen who was widely considered to be the greatest female athlete of the 20th Century.
Blankers-Koen, from the Netherlands, was the undoubted star of the 1948 London Olympic Games, winning gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 80m hurdles and 4x100m relay.
She was also a world record-holder for the long jump, the event in which Erskine represented Great Britain at the Games, but the Dutch woman couldn’t fit that into her busy schedule.
However, BlankersKoen and Erskine did go head-to-head in early summer 1950, competing in the 100 yards at the Coventry Godiva sports.
The Olympic champion was in outstanding form, equalling her British allcomers record when posting a time of 11.9 secs, while Erskine finished third.
A couple of months later, they were both on duty at the European championships in Brussels where BlankersKoen pocketed another three gold medals – in the 100m, 200m and 80m hurdles. She also earned silver in the 4x100m. Erskine was sixth in the long jump.
Blankers-Koen was without question a remarkable athlete. Her quadruple success at the first post-war Olympics is credited with helping promote more widespread participation by women in sport.
She was 30 years old at the time and a mother of two, earning her the nickname of “The Flying Housewife”.