Merlene Ottey Will not compete in Eighth Olympics

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With 53 Olympic races, eight Olympic medals and her first medal stretching back to Moscow 1980, Merlene Ottey ran a 11.70 today in Llubljana , Slovenia. Pretty impressive for any 48 year old, just not one trying to represent Slovenia in Beijing and make her eighth appearance in an Olympic Games.....


By Bob Ramsak
(c) 2008 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia -- At 48, Merlene Ottey may have finally reached the end of her Olympic road.

In Athens four years ago, Ottey became the only track and field athlete to compete in seven Olympic Games, but fell short this season to extend that record to eight. At a meet in Maribor, Slovenia, today, her last race prior to the end of the Olympic qualifying period, the Jamaican-born Slovenian finished second in the 100m, clocking 11.70. Her season’s best of 11.60 was well shy of the Olympic B qualifying standard and lagged well behind Slovenia’s current top sprinter, Pia Tajnikar, who improved to 11.35 this season.

With the steady rise of other sprinters in Slovenia, where Ottey has lived since 1999 and represented internationally since 2002, her bid was always an extreme long shot. Her struggle with allergies, a condition which has dogged her for the better part of a decade, prevented her from training until early May. She relocated her training base from Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, to Koper on the Adriatic coast in the spring, but never fully acquired the form she felt she was still very much capable of.

With three silver and five bronze, Ottey has won more Olympic medals in track and field competition than any other women. If the International Olympic Committee decides to upgrade the athletes who finished behind Marion Jones in 2000, who was disqualified late last year for doping, Ottey could still claim another medal, increasing her medal haul to nine.

Olympic gold always proved elusive, although she came within 0.005 seconds at the Atlanta Games in 1996, where she finished behind Gail Devers in the 100m. Her first Olympic medal, bronze in the 200m, came on July 30, 1980 in Moscow, before many of the current crop of the world’s top sprinters were born.

In all she competed in 53 Olympic races and in 14 finals, both records.


Used with permission of Bob Ramsak, Publisher of Track

1 Comment | Leave a comment

it's sad that a lot of folks won't make it but it is still an inspiration to see folks trying

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