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Merlene OTTEY

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Merlene Ottey was introduced to athletics by her mother and competed in six editions of the Olympic Games for Jamaica and one edition for Slovenia.

First female Jamaican medallist at 200m

Her very long Olympic career began at the Moscow Games in 1980. She finished sixth with the Jamaican relay team in the final. But it was in the 200m that she shone to take the bronze medal, an Olympic first by a female athlete in her country. Four years later at the Los Angeles Games, she once again excelled, taking two bronze medals, in the 100 and 200m. She again led the 4x100m relay team in the final, which this time finished in eighth place.

Elected athlete of the year 15 times in Jamaica

Although injured, she ended her third Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988 with a fourth-place finish in the 200m, and two eliminations in the 100m semi-final and relay final. The woman who was elected "Athlete of the Year" 15 times in Jamaica won a new bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games, still in the 200m. Over 100m, she finished fifth, and in the 4x100m relay, Jamaica failed once again in the final by not finishing the race.

Three medals at 36 years of age

At 36, she found recognition at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996. There she won three medals. In the 100m, she finished at the same time as the USA’s Gail Devers, separated only by the photo finish, the gold being awarded to Devers. In the 200m, Merlene finished 12 hundredths of a second behind France’s Marie-José Perec. In the 4x100m relay, Jamaica was rewarded with the bronze medal in a thrilling neck-and-neck race, with the USA finally victorious and the Bahamas second.

More medals and a new country to run for

The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games allowed Merlene Ottey to win a silver medal with the relay behind the Bahamas. The 100m final ended with her taking fourth place. Competing for Slovenia, her coach’s country and her new adopted country since 2002, Merlene Ottey competed in her last Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. At the age of 44, she managed to qualify for the semi-finals in the sprint events.

One of two at seven editions of the Games

Only an Olympic title is lacking from her incredible career tally of eight medals at the Games (a record) and 14 World Championship medals, including two world titles over 200m, in 1993 and 1995, and another obtained with the Jamaican relay team in 1991. Along with Swedish fencer Kirstin Palm, she is the only woman to have competed at seven editions of the Olympic Games.

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Gallery

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Athens 2004-Athletics-100 m-Round 2: Heat 3: OTTEY Merlene (SLO) 3rd.
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Womens 100m Round 2

ATHENS - AUGUST 20: Merlene Ottey of Slovakia (C), Sherone Simpson of Jamaica (R) and Allen Bailey of Jamaica compete in the women's 100 metre event on August 20, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in the Sports Complex in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Allen Bailey;Merlene Ottey;Sherone Simpson
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Athens 2004-Athletics-100 m-Round 2: Heat 3: OTTEY Merlene (SLO) 3rd.
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https://olympic-vh.akamaihd.net/i/Assets/MediaPlayer/Videos/Streaming/2004/08/13/lot3-ottey merlene wm duke high/ottey_merlene_wm_duke_high_,0200,0400,0600,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

Merlene Ottey's Amazing Olympic Achievements

Merlene Ottey was the 1st Caribbean woman to win an Olympic medal. She's the only track and field athlete to participate in 7 different Olympics, where she represented Jamaica in the first 6 and Slovenia in Athens 2004. She went on to capture a total of 9 medals (3 bronze in the 200m, 2 in the 100m, 1 in the 4x100m relay, and silver in the 100m, the 200m and the 4x100m relay). Merlene Ottey (JAM, SLO) - Athletics - Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004
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Merlene Ottey of Jamaica

SYDNEY - SEPTEMBER 22: Merlene Ottey of Jamaica runs in the women's 100m heats at the Olympic Stadium during the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia on September 22, 2000. She went on to place forth overall. (Photo by Billy Stickland /Getty Images)
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Oly W 200m

Marie Jose Perec of France wins gold in the womens 200 metres with Merlene Ottey of Jamaica, #3478, second and Mary Onyali of Nigeria, centre, third, in the Olympic Stadium at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Results

  • Games
    Result
    Sport
    Event
  • S 42.13
    Athletics
    4x100m relay women
    B 11.19
    Athletics
    100m women
  • S 22.24
    Athletics
    200m women
    S 10.94
    Athletics
    100m women
    B 42.24
    Athletics
    4x100m relay women
  • B 22.09
    Athletics
    200m women
  • B 22.09
    Athletics
    200m women
    B 11.16
    Athletics
    100m women
  • B 22.20
    Athletics
    200m women

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