Press release from the Merlene Ottey Fanclub
23 August 2007
Living legend Merlene Ottey makes her eighth appearance at the World
Athletics Championships on 26 August
When Merlene Ottey is on the start line in the 100 metres this weekend at the World
Championships she will be competing against sprinters up to 30 years younger than
herself. Aged 47 the sprint queen Ottey is ready to amaze the world yet again.
Turning sprint into marathon
Merlene Ottey has turned sprint into her own personal marathon with a career spanning four
decades. From 1979 until 2000 she represented Jamaica. But since 1998 she has been living in
Slovenia, where she got citizenship in 2002. Now, for the seventh time she has been named to
represent Slovenia at a major championship. And in Osaka she will participate at the World
Championships for the eighth time – an astounding 24 years after her appearance at the inaugural
World Championship in Helsinki in 1983. In Osaka she will only run her favourite distance: the 100
Ottey’s best time in 2007 is 11.56 sec, but she knows that will not get her far in Osaka. “The World
Championships should be difficult for me from the first round. I have to run much faster than 11.56
to advance. Hopefully my health and my shape will improve significantly by then”. Ottey has spent
the last couple of weeks for specific training. “After this period hopefully I will run much faster in the
Championships”, she says.
Running fast is my passion
Actually Merlene Ottey has been running most of her life. “Running is definitely a passion for me”,
she says. “To walk away from it some day will be a big loss. When I was 30 years old, many
people were saying it was impossible to run so fast. Since then, it has been an age issue. I am
always curious to see how fast I can run at my age”.
Ottey’s goal for the rest of the season is to run 11.30 sec. or faster. That would qualify her for a
record-breaking eighth Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. “Qualifying for my 8th Olympics? ...
that would be phenomenal”, Ottey says. So far she took part in seven Olympic Games between
1980 and 2004 – collecting eight medals with the first coming in 1980 in Moscow (bronze). She
became the oldest track and field athlete to win an Olympic medal when she won silver in the
4x100 metre relay in 2000 in Sydney.
But age records are not new to Ottey. She has been improving world age records in the 100 and
200 metres for the last 17 years – being the fastest women in almost all age-groups from the 30th
year and onwards. Also at the world championships she is the oldest 100 metre medallist (35 years
89 days, in 1995), the oldest 100 metre finalist (37 years, 85 days in 1997), the oldest 200 metre
champion (35 years, 92 days, in 1995), and the oldest 200 metre medallist (37 years, 90 days, in
1997). In total Ottey has won 14 World Championship medals, including two 200 metre golds.
Since starting her career she collected more than 40 medals in championships at world and
In Osaka she will also break the record as the oldest competitor ever when she runs her first race
on Saturday being 47 years and 107 days old. So yet again Merlene Ottey, the girl who turned
sprint into a marathon, will be writing a page in the athletics history book!
Facts on Merlene Ottey
Birthday 10 May 1960
100 metres personal best 10.74 sec. (fourth fastest in history)
200 metres personal best 21.64 sec. (third fastest in history)
World Championship medals 14 (record for any athlete)
Olympic medals 8 (record for a female athlete)
World Age Records (100 metres) 16 (age 30-40; 42-44 and 46-47)
World Age Records (200 metres) 13 (age 30-39; 42-44 and 46)
Feel free to use facts and figures from the official Merlene Ottey fan site: www.jakobweb.dk/ottey