A look back at Linford Christie’s career on his 60th birthday

By PA Sport Staff
PA Media: Sport

British 100m record holder and former Olympic champion Linford Christie turns 60 on Thursday.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at his career on the track.

Rise to the top

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

After missing out on the 1984 Olympics, Christie took the 100m European title in Stuttgart in 1986 and then world bronze a year later after Ben Johnson was disqualified for steroid use. At his first Olympics in Seoul in 1988 he claimed silver, after initially finishing third, when Johnson was again disqualified for doping. In 1990 he defended his European title while also winning the 100m and 4x100m at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland.

Olympic gold

Christie won the 100m title in Barcelona. (John Giles/PA)
Christie won the 100m title in Barcelona. (John Giles/PA)

At the age of 32 Christie took gold in Barcelona in 1992 to become the oldest Olympic 100m champion. He won the title in 9.96seconds, with long-time rival Carl Lewis absent from the 100m as he competed in the long jump. Christie beat Frankie Fredericks and Dennis Mitchell into second and third to complete his stellar form in the event.

British record

Christie became world champion in Stuttgart in 1993. (Adam Butler/PA)
Christie became world champion in Stuttgart in 1993. (Adam Butler/PA)

A year after his Olympic victory, Christie sealed his position as an all-time great by winning the world title in 9.87secs in Stuttgart. It was a European and British record and just 0.01 off the world record. The run has has stood the test of time, with British sprinters unable to beat his 27-year-old mark.

Atlanta heartbreak

Linford Christie was disqualified for two false starts in the Olympic final. (Rebecca Naden/PA)
Linford Christie was disqualified for two false starts in the Olympic final. (Rebecca Naden/PA)

He missed out on a medal at the 1995 World Championships because of injury and a question mark hung over whether he could defend his Olympic crown at 36 years of age in 1996. The Games were a disaster and he was disqualified after false-starting twice in the final. Christie’s disqualification epitomised a wretched Games for Team GB as they left Atlanta with only one gold medal, won by Matthew Pinsent and Steve Redgrave in the coxless pair.

Doping ban

Christie’s track career ended after a doping ban. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)
Christie’s track career ended after a doping ban. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

Christie effectively retired in 1997 but in February 1999, at an indoor meet in Dortmund, a random drug test found banned substance nandrolone in Christie’s system. British Athletics found Christie not guilty but the IAAF, athletics’ governing body, overruled them and slapped him with a two-year ban. He continued to coach Darren Campbell and Katherine Merry, helping Campbell to 200m silver and Merry to 400m bronze at the Sydney Olympics. At the time of his ban Christie said: “I have always made it clear that I have no confidence in the IAAF’s arbitration process and this simply reaffirms this. I have never intentionally taken any banned substance.”

What to read next