December 27, 2017
Merlene Ottey, one of the best, if not the best, female sprinters of all time, is 57 years old at the moment, lives in Ljubljana, and continues to run. Her last performance that we managed to find on video was her 100m run in Nova Gorica in 2012. Ottey was 52 at the time, and she won the highest level race in the country.
Ottey is the only track athlete ever to appear at seven Olympic games, for the first time in Moscow in 1980 and the last time in 2004 in the Athens. In all but her last Olympic performance she competed for her country of birth, Jamaica, while in Athens Ottey competed under the Slovenian flag for the first time. In her career Merlene Ottey won 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, and with the time of 21.87s she still holds the 200m indoor world record, which has stood since 1993.
But why did this amazing athlete move to Slovenia in 1998 and eventually became a Slovenian citizen in 2002? As Merlene Ottey describes in an interview, which is embedded below, she wanted to continue to run, and while Jamaica has many good runners and the competition for their place in the Olympic team is fierce from the start, Slovenia doesn’t have that many at all. So, as she already had a Slovenian coach, why not compete for the country and prolong her running career, since running is what she really enjoys. “When I look, I see there are other people competing that are 75 to 100 years old, there is no limitation there, so, I'm going to stay running and see what i can do.”
You can enjoy her full interview just below Usain Bolt's Tweet:
The legendary Queen Merlene Ottey pic.twitter.com/SzYoNWVjzd— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) 9 August 2017