52-year-old Ottey runs into Olympic contention

Veteran sprinter Merlene Ottey is in the frame to compete at her eighth Olympic Games at the age of 52.


The Jamaican runner, who now represents Slovenia, set a season’s best time in the 100m of 11.82 seconds at a meeting in Maribor at the weekend.

Although the time is short of the Olympic qualifying standard of 11.38, she could yet form part of Slovenia’s 4x100m relay team.

Ottey made her first Olympic appearance at the Moscow Games of 1980, and then featured at every one of the next six Games.

Though she was a multiple world champion in her favourite event, the 200m, she missed out on a gold medal on the biggest stage of all.

She was silver medallist in the 100m and 200m at Atlanta in 1996 – her fifth Olympics – and four years later won silver again in the 4x100m relay.

In addition, she scooped six Olympic gold medals across five different Games.

If she does make it to London, though she would be almost certain not to add to that medal haul, she would become the first woman in history to compete at eight Olympic Games.

Agonisingly, she almost reached that landmark in 2008, but missed out on the qualifying time for Beijing by just 0.028 seconds.

Two years later, she competed for Slovenia in the 4x100m relay at the European Championships in Barcelona at the age of 50, making her the oldest athlete in the history of the event.

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