Athletics: Ottey stars at 50
Published 01/08/2010 | 05:00
Fifty-year-old Merlene Ottey became the oldest athlete to compete at the European Championships after anchoring Slovenia's 4x100m women's relay team yesterday.
Ottey, a naturalised Slovenian of Jamaican origin, surpassed the record previously held by 47-year-old French marathon runner Nicole Brakebusch-Leveque. Ottey said competing at 50 meant as much as any of the 29 medals she's won at major competitions since her debut in 1979.
"It's right up there with all the medals I have won," Ottey said. "I don't know if there's any athlete over 40 competing out here in sprinting, so to be competing at 50 is great."
Slovenia failed to reach today's final at Barcelona's Olympic Stadium after finishing seventh with a time of 44.30 seconds. Ukraine won the heat in 43.24 seconds.
Ottey has competed at seven Olympic Games, starting with Moscow in 1980, and she isn't going to stop either by not ruling out the London Games in 2012. In the meantime, she hopes to qualify for next year's World Championships in South Korea.