Zola Budd, born May 26, 1966 in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State in South Africa is an athlete who shot to fame at the age of 17 in 1984 when she broke the 5000m world record in 15 minutes 1.83 seconds, barefoot. Since this was apartheid South Africa, the world bodies did not recognise the record.
The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, persuaded her father to get her to apply for British citizenship on the grounds of her having a British grandfather, and race in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, United States. This was accomplished and she moved to Guildford where, still a na´ve 17 year old, she was startled by the venom of the anti-apartheid demonstrations. She was selected for the 3000m Olympic event and during the race collided with her longtime hero, Los Angeles runner Mary Decker, the favourite. Decker fell and did not finish the race, as a result Budd was booed by the crowd. Budd finished 7th.
In 1985 she set a new 5000m world record, but shortly after retired from international competition and returned to her native country. She still runs for her own pleasure, but not competitively.
In 1989 she married Mike Pieterse and became Zola Pieterse.