The “Flying Housewife” has landed a tube stop in London after all.
Fanny Blankers-Koen, a Dutchwoman who was one of the biggest stars of the 1948 London Olympics, was originally left off a reinterpreted map of the London Underground dedicated to former Olympians, prompting criticism from her homeland.
But on Wednesday, the track star known as the “Flying Housewife” was added to the list for future prints.
“We apologize if any offence has been caused by the omission of Fanny Blankers-Koen, who was clearly a remarkable athlete,” Transport for London marketing director Chris Macleod said in a statement. “We are speaking to the publisher to ensure that she features in the next reprint of the map.”
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To make room for Blankers-Koen, who died in 2004, running rivals Zola Budd and Mary Decker will be put together into one station instead of holding separate stops, the TFL said.
The Olympic Legends Map, which is being sold as a poster by Transport for London, changed the names of 361 London tube and railway stations, honouring greats like Usain Bolt, Jesse Owens and Lionel Messi. It includes a variety of Olympians from various sports.
Blankers-Koen, who won gold in the 100 metres, 200, 80 hurdles and 4×100 relay at the London Games and was named “Female Athlete of the Century” by the IAAF in 1999, had been left off the first take of the map. But that elicited a formal complaint from the Dutch athletics federation, which wrote to London organizing committee head Sebastian Coe to get Blankers-Koen added to the map.
“In this array of 361 athletes, Fanny Blankers-Koen should be included,” the Dutch federation said.
Canadian Olympians are also being honoured during the Games. Bank station has been named for triathlete Simon Whitfield, a gold medallist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, while Poplar becomes “Lennox Lewis,” for the star boxer who won gold for Canada in 1988.
The map was designed by Alex Trickett and David Brooks. After Blankers-Koen’s omission was pointed out to him, Trickett apologized on Twitter.
“Sadly your eyes are not mistaken. It’s the first (& I hope only) error transferring 361 names from list to map. Sorry FBK and fans,” Trickett wrote.
Track stars make up a good part of the map, running from west to east and all around the centre of the city. With Coe, Carl Lewis, Maria Mutola and Emil Zatopek, most of the all-time greats are represented. Swimmers, boxers and basketball stars also make up a large portion of the map.
The station closet to the Olympic Stadium, Stratford, is named “Michael Phelps” on the legends map.
There is even room for “renowned athletes famous for not winning a medal.” Falling under that category are Decker and Budd, the runners who got tangled in the 3,000-metre final at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
But Roger Bannister, who became the first man to run the mile in under four minutes in 1954, didn’t make the cut despite finishing fourth in the 1,500 two years earlier at the Helsinki Olympics.
The Blankers-Koen omission even caused British bookmakers to get involved, with William Hill offering odds on the Dutch track star being added to the map.
“Not a lot of people have bet,” William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly told The Associated Press. “We have taken about 100 pounds ($160) from about four or five people.”