Merlene Joyce Ottey is a Jamaican-born, Slovenian track athlete. Ottey began her career representing Jamaica, but since 2002, has represented Slovenia, where she now resides. She is ranked fourth on the list of the all time female athletes on the 100 meters and third on the 200 meters list.
Ottey holds the record for being the oldest track medalist ever, for running the fastest Women’s Indoor 200 metres (in 21.87 seconds) and for having the most women’s World Championships medals (fourteen). Her career achievements and longevity have led to her being called the “Queen of the Track”.
In 1998 Ottey moved to Slovenia, and began training with Slovene coach Srdjan Djordjevic. There she was still representing Jamaica. However, in May 2002, she became a Slovenian citizen, and now resides in Ljubljana, where she represents her new country in international events.
Ottey competed for Slovenia in the 100 meters at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, where she reached the semifinals. At age 46, she competed in the 2006 European Championships in Athletics. She finished fourth in the semi-finals of the 100 metres but did not qualify for the final, which was won by Belgium’s Kim Gevaert.
Ottey failed by 0.028 seconds to reach her eighth Olympic Games, aged 48 in 2008.