Christine Ijeoma Ohuruogu MBE is an English athlete, who specialises in the 400 metres; the event for which she is the current Olympic and former World and Commonwealth Champion. Her victory in the Beijing Games was the 50th gold medal for Great Britain in Athletics at the Olympics.
Ohuruogu’s Personal Best of 49.61 ranks her third amongst British women 400 m runners, behind fellow Olympic medallists Kathy Cook and Katharine Merry.
Born to Igbo Nigerian parentsin Newham, east London, she was raised less than one mile from the 2012 Summer Olympics stadium in Stratford. Ohuruogu studied at University College London, where she graduated in Linguistics in 2005. She also played netball during her undergraduate studies. Christine has 8 siblings, one of whom is Victoria Ohuruogu, a top sprints competitor in her age group.
She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.
In 2003 Ohuruogu was a bronze medallist at 400 m at the European Junior Championships. She became the AAA champion in the 400 m in 2004, was a semi-finalist in the 400 m at the Athens Olympics of 2004, also taking part in the 4 x 400 m relay team that finished 4th. In the 2005 European Under 23 Championships she took the silver medal, losing individual gold by a hundredth of a second. She also won silver in the 4 x 400 m relay.
After reaching the semi-final at the 400 m at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics she won a bronze medal in the women’s 4 x 400 m relay together with Lee McConnell, Donna Fraser and Nicola Sanders.
She won a gold medal for England in the 400 m at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in a personal best time of 50.28 seconds, beating favourite Tonique Williams-Darling in both her semi-final and the final.
Within 24 days of the end of her year-long competition suspension she returned to surprise the field and win the gold medal at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka. Christine Ohuruogu was suspended from competing in the 2006 European Athletics Championships. The reason for this was that she missed three out-of-competition drug tests, known as the “whereabouts” system, of the World Anti-Doping Code; one in October 2005 and two in June 2006. According to IAAF and British Olympic Association rules, she received a one-year ban for missing these tests, which expired on 5 August 2007.
The British Olympic Association also imposed a lifetime ban excluding Ohuruogu from competing at future Olympic Games for Great Britain. She appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the original decision was upheld. Ohuruogu submitted a further appeal, and stated that she would probably leave Britain and compete in the Olympics for another country if it was unsuccessful. Her Olympic ban was finally overturned on 27 November 2007.
A day after her ban was finished, Ohuruogu was selected for the British team at the 2007 Athletics World Championships. She had only run five competitive races before the final since her suspension; however, she managed to take the individual 400 m and secure the only gold medal for Great Britain at the Championships, while her compatriot Nicola Sanders won silver. She also took bronze in the 400 m relay.
In Beijing, Ohuruogu won her heat against Yulia Guschina who finished 0.18 seconds behind and semi-final for the 400 m women’s race against Shericka Williams by 0.14 seconds, before taking the gold with a finish down the home straight. It was Great Britain’s first – and only – track and field Olympic gold of the 2008 Games, and Ohuruogu was the first British female Olympic champion of the 400 m.
Ohuruogu was selected for the British team at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics. She was disqualified in her individual 400 m after a false start.