Merlene Ottey
World Championships


The World Championships Gothenburg 1995

Gwen Torrence was in great form for the World Championships and she won gold over 100 metres. But for once Merlene Ottey was lucky and got the gold medal in the 200 metre final - though only after lots of drama.

In the 200 metre final Torrence ran an amazing 21.77 seconds into over 2 mps head wind, but in the curve she stepped on the line of the lane inside her and according to the rules she was rightfully disqualified. Ottey came 2nd in 22.12 seconds - exactly the same time as Irina Privalova, but Ottey got the gold after a photofinish. After Torrence's disqualification Galina Malchugina (22.37 sec.) came from the disappointing fourth place to get a bronze medal.

100 metre final (wind speed +0.9):
1. Gwen Torrence USA 10.85 sec.
2. Merlene Ottey JAM 10.94 sec.
3. Irina Privalova RUS 10.96 sec.
4. Carlette Guidry USA 11.07 sec.
5. Zhanna Pintusevich UKR 11.07 sec.
6. Melanie Paschke GER 11.10 sec.
7. Mary Onyali NGR 11.15 sec.
8. Juliet Cuthbert JAM 11.44 sec.

4 x 100 metre relay final:
1. USA 42.12 sec.
2. Jamaica 42.25 sec.
3. Germany 43.01 sec.
4. Bahamas 43.14 sec.
5. France 43.35 sec.
6. Finland 44.46 sec.
7. Columbia 44.61 sec.
    Russia DNF

200 metre final (wind speed -2.2):
1. Merlene Ottey 22.12 sec.
2. Irina Privalova 22.12 sec.
3. Galina Malchugina 22.37 sec.
4. Melanie Paschke 22.60 sec.
5. Silke Knoll 22.66 sec.
6. Mary Onyali 22.71 sec.
7. Marina Trandenkova 22.84 sec.
8. Gwen Torrence DQ

Torrence winning the 200 metres (ahead of Privalova & Ottey) before getting disqualified.



The World Championships Athens 1997

Merlene Ottey had been "knocked out" and was not feeling well at the beginning of the season - a season which she opened with her slowest 100 metre time in years (11.59 seconds). Therefore she decided to concentrate on the 100 metre for the World Championship, because she had never won a gold medal at that distance. Though once again it seemed that another newcommer should be in Ottey's way, namely 21 year old American Marion Jones. And the 100 metre final turned out to be a nightmare for Ottey. Really concentrating her start, Ottey failed to hear the second shot when Fynes of Bahamas had made false start: Ottey ran 50 metres for full speed before realizing she was the only one on the track. Walking back to the starting blocks she was well aware that she had lost the chance of gold.

Merlene walking back to the start line after failing
to hear the shot for the false start.

100 metre final (wind speed +0.4):
1. Marion Jones 10.83 sec.
2. Zhanna Pintusevich 10.85 sec.
3. Sevatheda Fynes 11.03 sec.
4. Christine Arron 11.05 sec.
5. Inger Miller 11.18 sec.
6. Melanie Paschke 11.19 sec.
7. Merlene Ottey 11.29 sec.
8. Chryste Gaines 11.32 sec.

Instead Marion Jones won the gold ahead of Zhanna Pintusevich. In disappointment Ottey slowed down and almost stopped running after 80 metres – actually giving the bronze medal to the woman that made the false start: Sevatheda Fynes. 

The three 100 metre medalists (Pintusevich, Fynes and Jones) crossing the finishline.

Ottey had not had time to practice much over 200 metres in the 1997 season. She came to the Champs with a seasons best time of 22.47 seconds – a time which she improved in the semifinal to 22.26 seconds. The gold medal was won by Zhanna Pintusevich of the Ukraine in the slowest time in a 200 metre final since 1976. In the fight for silver Ottey was passed by the Sri Lankan surprise Susanthika Jayasinghe, who later was accused of and tested positive in taking drugs, but she continued her career. 200 metre final (wind speed ?):
1. Zhanna Pintusevich (UKR) 22.32 sec.
2. Susanthika Jayasinghe (SRI) 22.39 sec.
3. Merlene Ottey (JAM) 22.40 sec.
4. Yekaterina Leshchova (RUS) 22.50 sec.
5. Inger Miller (USA) 22.52 sec.
6. Marina Trandenkova (RUS) 22.69 sec.
7. Melinda Gainsford-Taylor (AUS) 22.70 sec.
8. Sylvianne Felix (FRA) 22.81 sec.

Juliet Cuthbert

Merlene Ottey decided not to participate for Jamaica in the 4 x 100 metres relay. But another Jamaican veteran and a friend of Merlene, 33 year old Juliet Cuthbert, won another relay medal 14 years after her first 
(at the Helsinki World Championships in 1983).

4 x 100 metre relay final:
1. United States 41.47 seconds
    (Gaines, Jones, Miller, Devers) 
2. Jamaica 42.10 seconds
     (McDonald, Frazer, Cuthbert, Grant)
3. France 42.21 seconds
     (Girard, Arron, Combe, Félix) 
4. Germany 42.44 seconds
    (Paschke, Möller, Rockmeier, Philipp)
5. Russia 42.50 seconds
6. Bahamas 42.77 seconds
     (Clarke, Fynes, Ferguson, Davis) 
7. Nigeria 43.27 seconds
     (Otondu-Okoye, Ojokolo, Atede, Ajunwa) 
8. China 43.32 seconds 
     (Fang, Jiankui, Xiaomei, Xuemei) 



The World Championships Sevilla 1999

Though she had qualified and was well-prepared for the championships Merlene Ottey did not participate. Two days before the championships, it was announced that she had tested positive for the drug, nandrolone, at an athletics meeting in Luzern earlier in the season.

The three medalists in the 100 metres final
(Inger Miller, Marion Jones, Ekaterini Thánou)

100 metre final (wind speed -0.1):
1. Marion Jones 10.70 sec. CR
2. Inger Miller 10.79 sec.
3. Ekatarini Thánou 10.84 sec.
4. Zhanna Pintusevich 10.95 sec.
5. Gail Devers 10.95 sec.
6. Christine Arron 10.97 sec.
7. Chandra Sturrup 11.06 sec.
8. Mercy Nku 11.16 sec.
200 metre final (wind speed +0.6):
1. Inger Miller 21.77 sec.
2. Beverly McDonald 22.22 sec.
3. Merlene Frazer 22.26 sec.
3. Andrea Phillip 22.26 sec.
5. Debbie Ferguson 22.28 sec.
6. Fatima Yusuf 22.42 sec.
7. Lauren Hewitt 22.53 sec.
8. Juliet Campell 22.64 sec.

Marion Jones came to Sevilla hoping to win four golds. She won a very fast 100 metre final with no less than six women under 11 seconds. But Jones was injured in the 200 metre semifinal. So no more dreams of gold for Jones, though she would have had great difficulties beating great running Inger Miller in the final anyway. Miller set four personal records during the championships and won the 200 metre final in 21.77 seconds. After the final she showed tremendous happiness (see photo). The IAAF decided to give two bronze medals (to Frazer and Phillip) - rather peculiar when they decided NOT to give Merlene Ottey a second gold medal after the 100 metre final at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart.

The Bahamian team was a surprise winner of the gold medal in the short relay - with USA finishing as far back as fourth after Gail Devers was passed on the last leg by both Christine Arron (France) and Peta-Gaye Dowdie (Jamaica).

The photo above shows the finish of the womens 4 x 100 metre relay with Debbie Ferguson winning the gold for Bahamas ahead of Arron, France.

4 x 100 metre relay final:
1. Bahamas 41.92 sec.
    (Fynes, Sturrup, Davis, Ferguson)
2. France 42.06 sec.
    (Girard, Hurtis, Benth, Arron)
3. Jamaica 42.15 sec.
    (Bailey, Frazer, McDonald, Dowdie)
4. USA 42.30 sec.
    (Taplin, Perry, Miller, Devers)
5. Germany 42.63 sec.
6. Canada 43.39 sec.
7. Poland 43.51 sec.
8. GreatBritain & NorthernIreland 43.52 sec.


Back to Merlene Ottey Tribute