Merlene Ottey's

Olympic Games' History


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200 metre final (wind speed +1.5):
1. Barbel Wöckel (Eckert) GDR 22.03
2. Natalya Bochina URS 22.19
3. Merlene Ottey JAM 22.20
4. Romy Müller GDR 22.47
5. Kathy Smallwood GBR  22.61
6. Bev Goddard GBR 22.72
7. Denise Boyd (Robertson) AUS 22.76
8. Sonia Lannaman GBR 22.80
100 metre final (wind speed +1.0):
1. Lyudmila Kondratyeva URS 11.06
2. Marlies Göhr (Oelsner) GDR 11.07
3. Ingrid Auerswald GDR 11.14
4. Linda Haglund SWE 11.16
5. Romy Müller GDR 11.16
6. Kathy Smallwood GBR 11.28
7. Chantal Rega FRA 11.32
8. Heather Hunte GBR 11.34
4 x 100 metre relay final:
1. GDR  41.60 (world record)
2. USSR 42.10
3. Great Britain 42.43
4. Bulgaria 42.67
5. France 42.84
6. Jamaica 43.19
7. Poland 43.59
- Sweden DNF



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200 metre final (wind speed -0.1):
1. Valerie Brisco-Hooks USA 21.81
2. Florence Griffith USA 22.04
3. Merlene Ottey JAM 22.09
4. Kathy Cook (Smallwood) GBR 22.10
5. Grace Jackson JAM 22.20
6. Randy Givens USA 22.36
7. Rose-Aime Bacoul FRA 22.78
8. Liliane Gaschet FRA 22.86
100 metre final (wind speed -1.2):
1. Evelyn Ashford USA 10.97
2. Alice Brown USA 11.13
3. Merlene Ottey JAM 11.16

4. Jeanette Bolden USA 11.25
5. Grace Jackson JAM 11.39
6. Angela Bailey CAN 11.40

7. Heather Oakes (Hunte) GBR 11.43
8. Angella Taylor CAN 11.62
4 x 100 metre relay final:
1. USA 41.65
2. Canada 42.77
3. Great Britain 43.11
4. France  43.15
5. Federal Republic of Germany 43.57
6. Bahamas  44.18
7. Trinidad 44.23
8. Jamaica 53.54



100 metre final (wind speed +3.0):
1. Florence Griffith Joyner USA 10.54w
2. Evelyn Ashford USA 10.83w
3. Heike Drechsler GDR 10.85w
4. Grace Jackson JAM 10.97w
5. Gwen Torrence USA 10.97w
6. Natalya Pomoshnikova URS 11.00w
7. Juliet Cuthbert JAM 11.26w
8. Anelia Nuneva BUL 11.49w




Merlene Ottey chasing Florence Griffith Joyner in a heat of  the womens 200 metres (in the middle: Katrin Krabbe)

200 metre final (wind speed +1.3):
1. Florence Griffith Joyner USA 21.34 (world record)
2. Grace Jackson JAM 21.72
3. Heike Drechsler GDR 21.95
4. Merlene Ottey JAM 21.99
5. Silke Möller GDR 22.09
6. Gwen Torrence USA 22.17
7. Maia Azarashvili URS 22.33
8. Galina Malchugina URS 22.42
4 x 100 metre relay final:
1. USA 41.98
2. German Democratic Republic  42.09
3. Soviet Union 42.75
4. Federal Republic of Germany 42.76
5. Bulgaria 43.02
6. Poland 43.93
7. France 44.02
-  Jamaica scratched



This was another disappointing Championship for Merlene Ottey. She came to Barcelona leading the world ranking for 100 metres with 10.80 seconds (third at 200 metres: 22.11 sec.) and was off course the favourite for the final. But fighting herself back from a dangerous disease that nearly cost her her feet Gail Devers was a surprising winner of the gold medal. Little consolation for Merlene Ottey was it that her fellow Jamaican Juliet Cuthbert took silver as Ottey herself only finished fifth. This 100 metre final was the fastest for women ever with five women under 11 seconds.

The 200 metres saw yet again an American (Gwen Torrence) taking gold ahead of the Jamaicans. Also here Juliet Cuthbert finished ahead of Ottey who though received her fourth Olympic bronze medal. With Cuthbert (and partly Ottey) in top form Jamaica had high hopes for the 4 x 100 metre final, but they faded as Cuthbert suffered a hamstring on the second leg and the team had to pull out of the race. Instead the Americans (among them 35 year old Evelyn Ashford) won the gold in a disappointing time of 42.11 seconds.



4 x 100 metre final:
1. United States 42.11 sec.
    (E. Ashford, E. Jones, C. Guidry, G. Torrence)
2. Commonwealth of Independent States 42.16 sec.
    (Bogoslovskaya,Malchugina, Trandenkova, Privalova)
3. Nigeria 42.81 sec.
    (Utondu, Idehen, Thompson, Onyali)
4. France 42.85 sec.
5. Germany 43.12 sec.
6. Australia 43.77 sec.
- Jamaica DNF
- Cuba DNF

100 metre final (wind speed -1.0):
1. Gail Devers (USA) 10.82
2. Juliet Cuthbert (JAM) 10.83
3. Irina Privalova (CIS) 10.84
4. Gwen Torrence (USA) 10.86
5. Merlene Ottey (JAM) 10.88
6. Anelia Nuneva (BUL) 11.10
7. Mary Onyali (NIG) 11.15
8. Liliana Allen (CUB) 11.19

200 metre final (wind speed -0.6):
1. Gwen Torrence (USA) 21.81
2. Juliet Cuthbert (JAM) 22.02
3. Merlene Ottey (JAM) 22.09
4. Irina Privalova (CIS) 22.19
5. Carlette Guidry (USA) 22.30
6. Grace Jackson (JAM) 22.58
7. Michelle Finn (USA) 22.61
8. Galina Malchugina (CIS) 22.63

Running the curve in the 200 metre final
From left to right: Jackson, Guidry, Torrence, Ottey, Cuthbert, Privalova, Finn




100 metre final

For the second time in their career Merlene Ottey and Gail Devers had a photofinish in one of the major Championship finals (the first time was at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany). Yet again Devers was judged the winner by a few thousands of a second. In the final Devers was the fastest out of the blocks with Ottey more than a meter behind, but in the last 20 metres Ottey was the fastest and she caught up with Devers at the finish line, where both women were given the time of 10.94 seconds.

Officials found that Devers was the winner, but Jamaica filed a protest saying that Devers only was first to cross the finish line with her head and not with the torso as the rules say. But after scrutizinig the finishphoto the Atlanta officials confirmed that Devers was the winner. Therefore the result stayed the same and Ottey had to accept the Olympic silver medal - which still was better than the four Olympic bronzemedals she already had received between 1980 and 1992.

100 metre final (wind speed -0.7):
1. Gail Devers 10.94 sec.
2. Merlene Ottey 10.94 sec.
3. Gwen Torrence 10.96 sec.
4. Chandra Sturrup 11.00 sec.
5. Marina Trandenkova 11.06 sec.
6. Natalia Voronova 11.10 sec.
7. Mary Onyali 11.13 sec.
8. Zhanna Pintusevich 11.14 sec.

Finish photo from the 100 metre final

200 metre final

After the disappointment in the 100 metre final this 200 metre final was said to be Merlene Ottey's last chance to get an Olympic Gold medal. But once again another female athlete popped up and got in the way of Ottey. This woman was Olympic Champion over 400 metres Marie Jose Perec that now made the double with the gold medal over 200 metres. Ottey and Perec won their seminfinals in 22.08 and 22.07 respectively and all was set for the big clash in the final. Here Ottey was ahead and looked fine up until 180 metres, but then her run started to "stiffen" and Perec stretced out her long legs and passed Ottey finishing in the somewhat disappointing winning time of 22.12 seconds.

200 metre final (wind speed +0.3):
1. Marie-Jose Perec 22.12 sec.
2. Merlene Ottey 22.24 sec.
3. Mary Onyali 22.38 sec.
4. Inger Miller 22.41 sec.
5. Galina Malchugina 22.45 sec.
6. Chandra Sturrup 22.54 sec.
7. Juliet Cuthbert 22.60 sec.
8. Carlette Guidry 22.61 sec.

4 x 100 metre final

For the fourth time in a row the United States won Olympic gold on the short relay. The Bahamian girls won a surprise silver medal. Merlene Ottey ran Jamaica’s last leg in the fastest time ever in a 100 metre with flying start (9.83 seconds). She passed Russia’s Irina Privalova on the last meters to secure Jamaica a bronze medal. That was furthermore her 7th Olympic medal equaling the record of Irena Szewinska, Poland.

4 x 100 metre final:
1. USA 41.95 sec.
2. Bahamas 42.14 sec.
3. Jamaica 42.24 sec.
4. Russia 42.27 sec.
5. Nigeria 42.56 sec.
6. France 42.76 sec.
7. Australia 43.70 sec.
8. Great Britain 43.93 sec.

Merlene Ottey and Gail Devers crossing the finish line in the 100 metre final




100 metres

After all the stress she must have felt due to the discussions surrounding her selection to run the 100 metres, Merlene Ottey impressed heavily in the first races at her 6th Olympic participation. She won her preliminary and quarterfinal heats in 11.24 sec. and 11.08 sec. respectively. Up against strong medal contenders in the semifinal she amazed everyone again by winning in 11.22 sec.and thereby making it to yet another Olympic final at the age of 40 - simply fantastic!!! 

In the final Tanya Lawrence was the first to react to the starter's gun. She was eventually passed by Marion Jones and Ekaterini Thanou, but held on to third place (11.18 sec.) 0.01 sec. ahead of Ottey. Marion Jones cruised to victory in an impressive 10.75 sec. ahead of Thanou (11.12 sec.). The first to congratulate Lawrence was Ottey: "She came over, shook my hands and said good job", said the beaming Lawrence.

Merlene herself said after the race: "One or two races are enough for me. Doing four rounds is definitely a killer. I tried. I was really going forward. I would have loved to have moved up one or two spots. It just didn't happen. But to finish fourth in the Olympics is a fantastic result considering everything. I missed one year of competition, and coming back here and running against these people, much faster than I am, for me it was a challenge. I did my very best". She continued "Two-and-a-half months ago, I didn't think I would race in these Olympics. I didn't think I would race again. So I was glad I had the opportunity to come back out here. At one point I thought 'Wow, to get into the final would be nearly impossible". On her selection to run the 100 metres Ottey said "I'm sure by now they (her critics) realize they are wrong. It was the right selection. In the end, Jamaica saw the three best run". As for Marion Jones, Ottey said she is in a class by herself: "Unfortunately there's nobody to challenge her".

100 metre final (wind speed -0.5):
1. Marion Jones 10.75 sec.
2. Ekaterini Thanou 11.12 sec.
3. Tanya Lawrence 11.18 sec.
4. Merlene Ottey 11.19 sec.
5. Zhanna Pintusevich 11.20 sec.
6. Chandra Sturrup 11.21 sec.
7. Sevatheda Fynes 11.22 sec.
8. Debbie Ferguson 11.29 sec.

Merlene running in the quarterfinal

200 metres

In spite of her earlier success with participation 5 Olympic finals in a row (1980-1996), Merlene Ottey chose not to run this distance. Instead the 200 metre final was won by Marion Jones ahead of two girls receiving their first individual Olympic medals ever, Pauline Davis-Thompson (Bahamas) and Susanthika Jayesinghe (Sri Lanka).

200 metre final (wind speed )
1. Marion Jones 21.85 sec.
2. Pauline Davis-Thompson 22.27 sec.
3. Susanthika Jayesinghe 22.28 sec.
4. Beverly McDonald 22.35 sec.
5. Debbie Ferguson 22.37 sec.
6. Melinda Gainsford-Taylor 22.42 sec.
7. Cathy Freeman 22.53 sec.
8. Zhanna Pintusevich 22.66 sec.

4 x 100 metres

In her last Olympic race Merlene managed to bring home a silver medal to Jamaica. McDonald handed Ottey the batton in second position behind the Bahamas and Ottey held on to the silver in spite of a strong finish by Marion Jones (USA), who's dream of a third Olympic gold medal was changed into yet another bronze medal. Had the Jamaican hand-overs functioned as well as that of the Bahamian girls, the gold medal might be hanging around the neck of Merlene Ottey and the three other Jamaican girls. After 20 years of Olympic competitions Merlene Ottey now alone holds the medal record for female athletes with 8 medals (3 silver and 5 bronze).

4 x 100 metre final:
1. Bahamas 41.95 sec.
2. Jamaica 42.13 sec.
3. USA 42.20 sec.
4. France 42.42 sec.
5. Russia 43.02 sec.
6. Germany 43.11 sec.
7. Nigeria 44.05 sec.
8. China 44.87 sec.

Merlene Ottey and Veronica Campbell training baton exchange



The Jamaican Team with their silver medals
(Lawrence, Campbell, McDonald & Ottey)



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