Rosemary Chrimes (Payne), 19 May 1933

by Bernd Rehpenning

Whenever you'd written her off, she was back again - that's Rosemary Chrimes-Payne. In the following summary she will be seen to be a woman of many talents.

Her name first appears in the world best list in the discus in 1963 at the age of thirty - in 94th place with a throw of 48.25 m. Slowly she moved on to cross the 50 m barrier ( 1965 - 50.93 m ), in 1970 she improved her throw to 55.04 m and finally in the Olympic year 1972 in Birmingham she achieved a fantastic personal best of 58.02 m at the age of 39. .

At the Munich Olympic Games in 1972, the climax of her sporting life, she reached the finals in twelfth place with a throw of 55.56 m. In 1973, at 40 years of age, she once again reached a distance of 56.30 m - and that was it, or so it seemed.

There were two things, however, that hadn't been taken into consideration - the pure determination of someone like Rosemary Chrimes and the fact that the introduction of the world championships for veterans gave her a whole new perspective.

At the first WORLD MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIPS 1974 in Toronto, Canada, she revealed the extent of her versatility for the first time. Rosemary, who had previously proved to be a leading light in the discus at both national and international events, now took part in 4 disciplines and went on to win 4 gold medals - 100 m, high jump, shot-put and the discus. That was an impressive achievement - at the age of 55 she set up a new British record in the triple jump with a distance of 9.12 m.

Following a ten-year break from 1978 she made an impressive come-back at the European Championships in Verona in 1988 - taking part in 5 disciplines and winning a gold medal in each of them.

In the years that followed her participation in international events was carefully chosen - but whenever she took part, she was always very successful. After each international competition she returned to Scotland with three "undeclared" gold medals in her luggage - today that adds up to a total of 26 gold medals and 1 silver medal.

At present she holds 19 British senior records in 4 disciplines - that is unprecedented, the culmination being of course her 4 world records.

In establishing the World All Time Rankings of the senior women's discus, from W35 to W75, she heads this very strong field of specialists. The best performance in each age group was initially brought to the same level by means of the WMA factors "Model 2010". The results from international athletes were then given points - the total from all age groups amounts to 8,547 points and is now used as a standard for all the top discus throwers to follow her.

In the spring of 2010 I read the following report:
In answer to a journalist's question: “"Are you going to try for it again?". What was meant was another attempt at improving some world record or other. "Oh, yes, I think I should" was her reply.

And it didn't take long for it to happen - at the British Indoor Championships on 30th March 2010 she improved the indoor world record in the high jump with a height of 1.16 m and in the shot-put with a throw of 9.12 m - simply fantastic.

Let's hope that this lady athlete from Scotland will continue to show us what she can achieve in future - perhaps just until 2013 when she will be 80, but maybe earlier. You never know what she's planning - but when she plans something, you can be sure it's something to look forward to.

"That's Rosemary - never gives up and is always ready to surprise you."
Rosemary, we're looking forward to your next event.

Rosemary Chrimes (Payne), 19 May 1933

One of Britain`s greatest and most durable discus throwers, Rosemary Payne is the first field athlete to enter the Scottish borders Hall of Fame - and it´s about time.

Rosemary finished 10th at the then 1958 Empire Games with a throw of 34,96 m, and in 1972 reached the Munich Olympic Games final with an excellent 55,56 m . . . still a tough mark for any Briton to bit today.

Many will remember her victory in the Commonwealth Games in front of a home support at Meadowbank when she was part of the very successful Scotland team that included Lachie and Ian Stewart, Ian McCafferty and Rosemary Stirling.

"Our Rosemary" had finished 4th in the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, and also finished 2th in 1974 in New Zealand.

The Borders star won 11 scottish titles, 5 Britsh AAAs crowns and contested 3 European Championships - a leading light in Scottish and Britsh athletics worldwide, Rosemary was the top UK performer every year from 1964 to 1974 despite not making her debut until the age of thirty, from when she went on to make 50 GB appearances.

Her distance are still tough for current female athletes to beat to day - she threw over 55 metres several times. After retiring in 1974 she was appointed GB junior team manager, and helped nurture such talents as Steve Cram,

Fatima Whitbread, Colin Jackson and Steve Backley.

Rosemary returned to competition at veterans level and duly lifted 16 world titles for her age-group and set four world records.

Keep on running

Rosemary Chrimes [Courtesy of]

by Colin B Robertson

A few weeks ago, chatting to a student in the London College of Comminication Darkroom Bar about sport here at UAL, he said: "I used to play when I was younger, I could have been a semi pro."

He paused, taking another sip of his pint, "Too late now though," he lamented a wry smile appearing on his face, "I'm too old." It was an off the cuff remark. I asked him how old he was, "19" he answered.

What would veteran athletes Rosemary Chrimes, Mary Wixey or indeed any of the other millions of veteran athletes worldwide think about this remark?
I even spared him the unerring details of my own, turbulent, 28-year-old sporting career. It seems, you can lead a student to the bar, but you can't make him think.

I first met Rosemary Chrimes in the summer of this year. She was attempting a world record for high jump. She had just equalled a British record.
I sat on a bench nearby and tried to blend in as she narrowly missed her first attempt. She was agonisingly close for the final attempt too.
"That's the thing about jumping," she jovially remarked, "It always ends in failure."

Even so, clearing a height of one meter 15 when you are 75 could give a new meaning to the saying, "age is no barrier".

Super Gran

Upon hearing I was a journalist I was sent in her direction by a number of officials at the Midlands Open Masters Athletics Championships, in Solihull. Chrimes had broken the world record for shot put and set a new British record in the 100m that day, one could only muse to comprehend.
"She's amazing," many people told me.

I offered my commiserations and congratulations to the athlete - an elegant, strong lady with a pleasant manner. Would she try again, I asked?
"Oh yes, I should think so," detecting a subtle Scottish accent, she told me she is from Kielso, which she explained: "is on the borders".

To get an interview with her was difficult, she was busy. Admittedly, I was unprepared - I had attended the event out of curiosity.

Another character was to be found around the high jump area. A short gentleman, with charismatic features, dressed in a blue tracksuit with a baseball cap, his greying hair curled out the sides. A plucky personality, full of spontaneity and obviously a friend of RC. "She's done lots of things... A women of many talents..." he quirked and remarked.

"What do you want to know?"

Between the two of them, they arranged for the gentleman to explain all. "He" she said, "will tell you everything you need to know," packing her belongings, she pulled her tracksuit on over her Lycra and headed off towards the other end of the track.

Myself and the gentleman followed at a slower pace. He explained, "She's a remarkable athlete who is always in the pursuit of perfection," he explained "She won gold in the discuss at the 1970 Commonwealth Games and has become a champion in multiple other events in respective categories - an all round master and team manager for GBR athletics. She is a principle lecturer at Birmingham University and is also a fantastic pianist.."