IV Pacific Conference Games
The host stadium
Dates31 January and 1 February
Host cityChristchurch, New Zealand
VenueQueen Elizabeth II Park

The 1981 Pacific Conference Games was the fourth edition of the international athletics competition between five Pacific coast nations: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United States. This was the first occasion that athletes from beyond the Pacific grouping were allowed to compete at the tournament. A total of 21 men's and 16 women's athletics events were contested. Combined track and field events were included for the first time, in the form of the men's decathlon and the women's pentathlon. The women's 3000 metres was also a new addition to the programme.[1]

It was held at Queen Elizabeth II Park on 31 January and 1 February in Christchurch, New Zealand.[2] The host stadium was built for and hosted 1974 British Commonwealth Games.[3]

The competition had mandatory drug testing and two gold medallists were banned from the sport by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) after anabolic steroids were detected in their urine. Ben Plucknett, an American who broke the men's discus world record twice that year, was stripped of his win in that event and later tried to sue the IAAF.[4] Four-time Olympic champion Al Oerter stated that Plucknett had been made an example of due to his record breaking. Another American Olympian John Powell—who was consequently elevated to the Pacific Conference discus gold—criticised the fact that bans came top-down from the federation, rather than being seen before a judge or jury.[5]

Australia's Gael Mulhall similarly had her shot put and discus titles removed for the same doping violation. Mulhall considered a legal appeal and team mate Bev Francis (who was promoted to the shot put gold) criticised the testing procedure, which had no team officials or doctors present. Ultimately Mulhall accepted a reduced 18-month ban, but did not publicly confirm whether she had taken steroids or not.[6][7] Mulhall was criticised by Australian officials and members of the public as a drug cheat. She argued that testing was not of a reliable standard given the gravity of the sanctions and damage to her reputation, as well as saying that athletes needed more information on drugs and their effects.[8]

Medal summary


Event Gold Silver Bronze
100 metres  Peter Gandy (AUS) 10.42  Desai Williams (CAN) 10.50  Steve Williams (USA) 10.59
200 metres  Peter Gandy (AUS) 20.89  Bruce Frayne (AUS) 21.03  Desai Williams (CAN) 21.07
400 metres  Ed Yearwood (USA) 46.53  Palmer Simmons (USA) 46.78  Mike Willis (AUS) 46.95
800 metres  András Paróczai (HUN) 1:48.17  Peter Bourke (AUS) 1:49.06  John Walker (NZL) 1:49.41
1500 metres  Mike Hillardt (AUS) 3:41.74  Richie Harris (USA) 3:41.77  Mirosław Żerkowski (POL) 3:42.15
5000 metres  Dave Moorcroft (GBR) 13:36.79  Dick Buerkle (USA) 13:46.19  Masami Otsuka (JPN) 13:57.04
10,000 metres  Rod Dixon (NZL) 28:35.69  Peter Butler (CAN) 28:39.58  John Andrews (AUS) 28:41.70
110 m hurdles  Sam Turner (USA) 13.80  Max Binnington (AUS) 13.88  Pat Fogarty (CAN) 14.22
400 m hurdles  Harald Schmid (FRG) 50.35  Lloyd Guss (CAN) 50.79  Yukihiro Yoshimatsu (JPN) 50.83
3000 metres steeplechase  Bronisław Malinowski (POL) 8:24.02  Bogusław Mamiński (POL) 8:24.04  Greg Duhaime (CAN) 8:26.51
4×100 m relay  Canada (CAN)
Mark McKoy
Tony Sharpe
Desai Williams
Ben Johnson
39.6  Australia (AUS)
Max Binnington
Bruce Frayne
Gerrard Keating
Peter Gandy
39.8  New Zealand (NZL)
Ian Ferguson
Murray Cumberpatch
John Enright
Shane Downey
4×400 m relay  Australia (AUS)
Garry Brown
John Fleming
Bruce Frayne
Mike Willis
3:07.03  Canada (CAN) 3:08.16  United States (USA) 3:08.18
High jump  Dean Bauck (CAN) 2.21 m  Nat Page (USA) 2.21 m  Cai Shu (CHN) 2.15 m
Pole vault  Tomomi Takahashi (JPN) 5.25 m  Charlie Brown (USA) 5.05 m  Ray Boyd (AUS) 5.05 m
Long jump  Mike Marlow (USA) 7.64 m  Steven Knott (AUS) 7.49 m  Ikko Omura (JPN) 7.36 m
Triple jump  Mike Marlow (USA) 16.49 m  Ken Lorraway (AUS) 16.32 m  Masami Nakanishi (JPN) 16.21 m
Shot put  Colin Anderson (USA) 19.76 m  Bishop Dolegiewicz (CAN) 18.67 m  Mike Mercer (CAN) 17.62 m
Discus throw[nb1]  John Powell (USA) 59.54 m  Robin Tait (NZL) 56.08 m  Rob Gray (CAN) 55.42 m
Hammer throw  Shigenobu Murofushi (JPN) 69.52 m  Dave McKenzie (USA) 67.68 m  Gus Puopolo (AUS) 62.62 m
Javelin throw  Miklós Németh (HUN) 84.56 m  Phil Olsen (CAN) 77.36 m  Mike O'Rourke (NZL) 76.86 m
Decathlon  John Crist (USA) 7869 pts  Mauricio Bardales (USA) 7778 pts  Peter Hadfield (AUS) 7672 pts


Event Gold Silver Bronze
100 metres  Angela Bailey (CAN) 11.46  Diane Holden (AUS) 11.65  Helen Edwards (AUS) 11.67
200 metres  Angela Bailey (CAN) 23.37  Diane Holden (AUS) 23.47  Helen Edwards (AUS) 23.50
400 metres  Michelle Baumgartner (AUS) 52.85  Molly Killingbeck (CAN) 54.01  Marian O'Shaughnessy (AUS) 54.30
800 metres  Leann Warren (USA) 2:03.52  Terri Cater (AUS) 2:04.02  Liz Laban (GBR) 2:04.25
1500 metres  Brit McRoberts (CAN) 4:11.87  Cindy Bremser (USA) 4:12.21  Anna Bukis (POL) 4:14.65
3000 metres  Lorraine Moller (NZL) 9:07.86  Cindy Bremser (USA) 9:09.22  Barbara Moore (NZL) 9:14.94
100 m hurdles  Grażyna Rabsztyn (POL) 13.25  Linda Weekly (USA) 13.77  Emi Akimoto (JPN) 13.83
400 m hurdles  Lyn Foreman (AUS) 57.73  Yumiko Aoi (JPN) 59.74  Terry Yaxley (NZL) 60.10
4×100 m relay  Canada (CAN) 44.5  United States (USA) 45.4  Japan (JPN) 45.7
4×400 m relay  Australia (AUS)
Michelle Baumgartner
Terri Cater
Lyn Foreman
Marian O'Shaughnessy
3:34.20  United States (USA) 3:38.81  Canada (CAN) 3:40.56
High jump  Hisayo Fukumitsu (JPN) 1.89 m  Brigitte Reid (CAN) 1.86 m  Chris Stanton (AUS) 1.83 m
Long jump  Linda Garden (AUS) 6.53 m  Pamela Hendren (NZL) 6.25 m  Jodi Anderson (USA) 6.16 m
Shot put[nb2]  Bev Francis (AUS) 16.17 m  Denise Wood (USA) 14.79 m  Sandy Burke (USA) 14.72 m
Discus throw[nb2]  Zhu Junfang (CHN) 55.48 m  Denise Wood (USA) 52.60 m  Lucette Moreau (CAN) 50.60 m
Javelin throw  Tessa Sanderson (GBR) 61.56 m  Sue Howland (AUS) 60.36 m  Karen Smith (USA) 59.92 m
Pentathlon  Karen Page (NZL) 4348 pts  Glynis Saunders (AUS) 4290 pts  Jill Ross (CAN) 4288 pts


  1. ^ Pacific Conference Games. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-01-14.
  2. ^ Australia finish top nation at Games. The Straits Times, pg. 26 (1981-02-03). Retrieved on 2015-01-15.
  3. ^ Degun, Tom (2012-05-07). Christchurch's QEII Stadium to be demolished in wake of 2011 earthquake. Inside The Games. Retrieved on 2015-01-15.
  4. ^ Litsky, Frank (1981-07-14). PLUNKETT, HOLDER OF DISCUS RECORDS, BARRED ON DRUG USE. New York Times. Retrieved on 2015-01-15.
  5. ^ BANNING OF PLUCKNETT CALLED UNFAIR BY PEERS. New York Times (1981-07-29). Retrieved on 2015-01-15.
  6. ^ Mitchell, Neil & McMahon, Peg (1981-07-15). Mulhall May Take Life Ban To Court. The Age. Retrieved on 2015-01-15.
  7. ^ Webster, Jim (1982-07-29). Mulhall to Start Her Comeback on Sunday. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on 2015-01-15.
  8. ^ Farber, Michael (1982-10-04). Drugs Hurt Career of Aussie Woman. The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved on 2015-01-15.