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A RUNNER RUNS HOME
Craig Neff
May 23, 1988
Beset by controversy, a drained Zola Budd left England and returned to South Africa
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May 23, 1988

A Runner Runs Home

Beset by controversy, a drained Zola Budd left England and returned to South Africa

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Budd was welcomed back to South Africa with supportive editorials. One paper, Business Day, suggested that she resume her career in South Africa; another, The Citizen, a pro-government daily, excoriated Budd's enemies: "You have inflicted the grossest persecution on a young and world-renowned athlete, and if you have destroyed her international career—and we doubt whether she will ever run again overseas—you will stand condemned as bigots, blackmailers and political bullyboys."

Not everyone is so quick to sympathize with Budd. Her critics decry her move to England as blatant opportunism and say that her suffering is nothing compared to that of apartheid's victims. But in Britain, her return home—her real home—also prompted some national self-examination. As an editorial in The Daily Telegraph put it, "There prevails an impression that our own performance as the host country in this brief career has a shabby look. There is not a lot here for pride. We ought to be sad at her going, perhaps even a little ashamed."

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