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Summary Article: Ottey, Merlene (Joyce)
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Jamaican-born athlete who competed in seven Olympic Games (1980–2004). In her first appearance, at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, she became the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic track and field medal when she took bronze in the 200 metres. She finished her career with nine Olympic medals (three silver, six bronze), more than any other track and field athlete. At the 1996 Atlanta Games, she missed out on a gold medal in the 100-metre final to Gail Devers by five-thousandths of a second, when they both recorded a time of 10.94 seconds. She won 14 World Championships medals (three gold, four silver, seven bronze), more than anyone in history.

Career highlights

Olympic Games silver 100 metres 1996; silver 200 metres 1996; silver 4 × 100-metre relay 2000; bronze 100 metres 1984, 2000; bronze 200 metres 1980, 1984, 1992; bronze 4 × 100-metre relay 1996

World Championships gold 200 metres 1993, 1995; gold 4 × 100-metre relay 1991; silver 100 metres 1993, 1995; silver 200 metres 1983; silver 4 × 100-metre relay 1995; bronze 100 metres 1987, 1991; bronze 200 metres 1987, 1991, 1997; bronze 4 × 100-metre relay 1983, 1993

World Indoor Championships gold 60 metres 1995; gold 200 metres 1989, 1991; silver 60 metres 1991; silver 200 metres 1987; bronze 60 metres 1989

Commonwealth Games gold 100 metres 1990; gold 200 metres 1982, 1990


IAAF Female Athlete of the Year 1990

Ottey was nicknamed ‘The Bronze Queen’ because of her 13 Olympic and World Championship bronze medals. She was so admired in her native country that in 1993, after winning her first gold at the World Championships, she was named an ambassador of Jamaica. She withdrew from the 1999 World Championships after testing positive for a banned steroid at a meet in Switzerland earlier in the year, but was later cleared by a Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association panel of charges of intentionally using performance-enhancing drugs. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics she finished fourth in the 100-metre sprint, but years later was awarded the bronze medal after the original winner, Marion Jones, had her records expunged after admitting using performance-enhancing drugs. In 2002 Ottey became a Slovenian citizen. She was still competing in international competition at the age of 52, when she ran in the 4 × 100-metre relay at the 2012 European Championships.

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