Google honors Olympic runner Fanny Blankers-Koen, 'The Flying Housewife'

Fanny Blankers Koen in later years

Fanny Blankers Koen in later years

Fanny Blankers-Koen of Utrecht, Netherlands, shocked spectators at the 1948 London Olympic Games and would have celebrated her 100th birthday Thursday. She captured four golds during the 1948 London Games, winning the 100m, 80m hurdles, 200m, and 4x100m relay to become the first woman to win four medals in a single Olympics.

More incredible still, Blankers-Koen - nicknamed the "Flying Housewife" - achieved all this at the age of 30 while pregnant with her third child. When she declared her intentions to compete in the 1948 London Games, she received letters from many criticizing her for continuing to race despite being a mother and insisting she stay home.

In 1950 she nearly repeated her wins at the European Championships in Brussels but just missed out on a fourth gold there.

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It didn't take long for Blankers-Koen to enter the record books in her home country of the Netherlands.

Nat Farbman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty ImagesHIGH HOPESPhotographed by LIFE magazine in 1950, Blankers-Koen attempts a high jump.Bettmann ArchiveDIGGING IT OUTBlankers-Koen at the end of the 100m at the 1948 Summer Olympics.

The doodle leads to a search for "Fanny Blankers-Koen" and is being shared on Google's home pages in the USA, the Netherlands, Iceland, Ireland, the UK, Sweden, Greece, Australia and New Zealand (The "692" detail on Blankers-Koen's shirt in the illustration reflects her bib number when she broke the record during the 200 meter race).

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She began competing in running races when she was 17, in 1935 and soon made the Dutch team as a sprinter, because at the time 800m races were still considered too strenuous for women to run.

There, she gained the autograph of USA athlete Jesse Owens which became her most treasured possession. In 1981, the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games, an worldwide athletics event, were established. She remains one of the great Olympians in history. Aside from her Olympic achievements she won five European titles and 58 Dutch championships. The Mirror called her "One of the most decorated women athletes of all time" and noted that she once held 12 world records during her time as an athlete.

She was once voted the 20th century's best athlete, however.

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Fanny Blankers-Koen died in 2004 in Amsterdam.

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