Further Personal Information
||Linguistics - University College London: England
Sport Specific Information
|When and where did you begin this sport?
||She took up athletics seriously at age 17 at the Newham and Essex Beagles club in London. She did not fully commit to athletics until 2003 when she finally stopped playing netball.
|Why this sport?
||She did not consider athletics an option until she ran in an 800m race at a school sports day. After running the race a teacher suggested she join an athletics club. She began to specialise in the 400m due to the fact that no other member in the athletics club wanted to compete over such a distance and with impressive times she was regularly selected to run. "I like the fact that it is an individual sport and you are in control of how well you do. It also helps that I am good at it as it is nice to win races."
|Club / Team
||Newham & Essex Beagles: London, ENG
|Name of coach
||"Weights play a big part in my program, not just to develop power and strength but also to make sure the body is conditioned enough to avoid injury. We cover everything from head to toe and I tend to work from the core outwards."
||The Big O (sports-reference.com, 2011)
|Memorable sporting achievement
||Winning gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. (bbc.co.uk, 19 Aug 2008)
|Most influential person in career
||Her support team and her brother Obi. (guardian.co.uk, 23 Aug 2008; avivaathletics.co.uk, 2009)
|Hero / Idol
||Australian athlete Cathy Freeman. (biogs.com, 31 Dec 2009)
||She was suffering from a hip injury in early 2015. (bbc.co.uk, 27 Aug 2015)
Her 2010 season was cut short by a torn thigh muscle. (bbc.co.uk, 26 Jul 2011)
She underwent surgery on both her Achilles tendons in her ankles at the start of 2007. (The Independent, 03 Aug 2007)
|Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
||"I have a habit of slapping my thighs and hamstrings - not sure if this does any good but I just do it." (avivaathletics.co.uk, 2009)
|Sporting philosophy / motto
||"If you fight you might lose, if you don't fight you have already lost." (Athlete, 31 Jul 2008)
|Awards and honours
||She was named 2014 Sportswoman of the Year at the Glamour Magazine Women of the Year awards. (chrissyo.com, 3 Jun 2014)
She was named the 2013 Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswoman of the Year. (skysports.com, 18 Dec 2013)
She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire [MBE] in the New Year Honours in 2009. (chrissyo.com, 04 Oct 2011)
She was named Great Britain's Athlete of the Year in 2007 and 2008. (BBC Sport, 27 Oct 2007; avivaathletics.co.uk, 2009)
||A former junior netball international, she played for England at U17 and U19 level. (UK athletics, 10 Aug 2005)
||Her younger sister Victoria is also a 400m runner and has represented Great Britain internationally. (web.orange.co.uk, 12 Dec 2013)
||To compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (skysports.com, 18 Dec 2013)
||A LIGHT YEAR IN 2014
After breaking the British record and claiming her second 400m world title in Moscow, Russia, in 2013, she indicated that 2014 would be a 'light' year for her. She said she may even confine her involvement at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland to competing in the 4x400m relay. After finishing last in her first 400m start of the outdoor season in 2014, at the Diamond League meeting in New York, she tweeted to reassure her supporters. "Not injured just missed a lot of training, it's a light year, no need to stress, I am not." (telegraph.co.uk, 26 Jan 2014; Twitter profile, 14 Jun 2014; bbc.co.uk, 14 Jun 2014)
DITCH THE HEELS
In May 2014 she admitted that her love of wearing high-heeled shoes was damaging her knees. "I love my six-inch heels, so my knees couldn't quite cope with the running. They are fine now but I'm getting old so everything is creaking. I think I've got to stop wearing heels or make them a little bit shorter because my event is hard and it's a lot of impact on the body." (dailymail.co.uk, 18 May 2014)
She was born near the site of the 2012 Olympic stadium in Stratford, East London. "I think my family home is closer to the Olympic Stadium than anyone else's. I'm less than a mile away." At her home Olympic Games as defending champion in the 400m she won the silver medal in 49.70 secs, 0.15 seconds off the gold. (guardian.co.uk, 25 Jul 2011; chrissyo.com, 29 Jun 2014)
In 2006 she received a one-year ban from UK Sport after missing three out-of-competition drug tests. Her appeal was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] but she managed to overturn the lifetime ban from all Olympic Games imposed by the British Olympic Association [BOA] which allowed her to compete at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where she won gold in the 400m. (bbc.co.uk, 15 Sep 2006)