P.T. Usha was the first Indian woman to reach Olympic finals. She reached the finals of the 400 metres hurdles in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Usha lost the bronze by 1/100th of a second.
P.T. Usha was born on May 20, 1964 in the village of Payyoli, in
Kozhikode District in Kerala. Nicknamed as Payyoli Express, P.T. Usha
passed out from the Sports School for Women started by Kerala
Government. Renowned coach O.M. Nambiar noticed Usha's talent during the
National School Games in 1979 and took her under his wings. She made her
debut in 1980 Moscow Olympics. In 1982, Delhi Asian Games, P.T. Usha won
silver medals in 100 m and 200 m. Usha came into her own at the Asian
Track and Field Championship at Kuwait in 1983, where she took gold in
the 400 m and set a new Asian record. In 1986 Seoul Asian Games, P.T.
Usha won 4 gold and 1 silver medal in the track and field events and
created new Asian Games records in all the events she participated. For
her achievements, P.T. Usha was conferred with the Padma Shri and the
Arjuna Award in the year 1985.