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Linford Christie

Linford Christie

Linford Christie, born on 2nd April 1960 was a professional British runner, and he remains the only British runner to have won gold medals at the four biggest running events in the world for his performance in the 100 metre races.

Christie was born in Saint Andrew, Jamaica and was brought up there. When he was 7 years old he moved to London where his parents lived, and attended Henry Compton School. His abilities showed during his physical education classes, which is a British school class involving several sports activities. In 1978 he joined the Air Training Corps but didn’t actually get involved in athletics as such until 1979.

When Christie first started out with his running, things didn’t look so good. He tried for the 1994 Olympics but did not make it through, but later he began training with Ron Roddan, a running coach who helped Christie improve on his standards.

Two years later he ran in the European Championships where he won, and he also came in at 2nd place in the Commonwealth Games the same year. Both wins were in 100 metre races, which it was becoming clear was his strongest distance. In 1998 the Summer Olympics took place in Seoul, and this time Christie made it through and ran in the 100 metre final. He won silver for taking 2nd place.

His career was dampened when Christie was tested for drugs in Seoul, and tested positive for an illegal performance enhancing drug after the 200 metre races. Thankfully for him, after facing the judges he was cleared and was not punished. In 1992, he ran in the Olympics held in Barcelona and managed to snatch a gold medal.

A year later he had many huge titles under his belt including the titles for the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, World Games and European Games. This was the height of his career. In 1995 at Lievin, Christie broke the world record in the 200 metre race after finishing in 20.25. This time made him the 3rd fastest runner of that time.

His next Olympic appearance was at the 1996 event, but after making two false starts he was removed from the games. There was not really much more in later years to report in terms of success, and Christie retired in 1997 from international running. Two years after his international retirement he ran in the Dortmund Indoor Meet, but was tested for drugs and was found to have another illegal substance in his body.

The IAAF suspended him for two years, having known that he had already appeared before the judges once previously for a positive drugs test. Puma were Christie’s sponsors at the time, and after hearing of his suspension they cancelled his sponsorship contract.

No one has yet beaten the British 100 metre record that he set in 1993, with a time of 9.87. Christie’s career has been a rollercoaster indeed with many highs and lows, although he is still remembered very well for his feats in the 100 metre distance runs.

In the successful London bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, Christie was absent from the team, even though he states he attempted to get involved. Christie has cited an ongoing feud between himself and former team-mate Sebastian Coe as a likely reason for the snub, although since 1999 British athletics chiefs had "overlooked" Christie because of his positive nandrolone test. Commenting on the argument, Christie's team mate, Derek Redmond, said he was "a well-balanced athlete; he has a chip on both shoulders."

Career Highlights

  • 1992 Barcelona Olympics – Gold
  • 1988 Seoul Olympics – Silver (2)
  • 1993 World Championships – Gold

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