Merlin Joyce Ottey ( born Merlene Joyce Ottey ; born May 10, 1960 in Cold Spring , Hanover Parish, Jamaica ) is a Jamaican sprint runner who performed at distances of 60 , 100 and 200 meters. Since 2002, she played for Slovenia . The owner of 14 medals of various denominations of the summer world championships (until 2017 it was a record in the history of the tournament among men and women when Allison Felix brought the number of her medals to 16) and a 9-time Olympic medalist (shares the record among women with Allison Felix), one of the most titled athletes in history. The sports nickname is “ Queen of the Track ”. In 2012, at the age of 52, she participated in the European Championships in Helsinki , where she performed as part of the Slovenian relay 4 × 100 meters.
Otti in 2011
|Date and place of birth||May 10, 1960 (59 years old)|
Cold Spring , Jamaica
|Citizenship||Jamaica → Slovenia|
Otti is the first athlete in history to participate in seven Olympics (1980-2004), and the first athlete to run out of 7 seconds at a distance of 60 meters. Record 13 times Merlin was recognized as the best athlete of the year in Jamaica (1979, 1980, 1982-1985, 1987, 1989-1991, 1993-1995).
Cousin Merlin Milt Otti (born 1959) played for Canada in the high jump at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics (took 6th place in 1984).
Merlin Otti was born May 10, 1960 in the town of Cold Spring in northwestern Jamaica. She was the fourth of seven children in the family. Merlin's running talents appeared in childhood, but she began to professionally engage in athletics in 1979, when she moved to the USA and entered the University of Nebraska .
The first big start was the 1979 Pan American Games for her, where Merlin Otti won a bronze medal at a distance of 200 meters. A year later, at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, she repeated this result at the same distance. Since she became the first woman in Jamaican history to win an Olympic medal, upon returning to her homeland, she was awarded the National Order of Excellence.
Otti won her first victory at major competitions at the Commonwealth Games in 1982, she won the 200-meter and became the second at 100 meters. The 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles brought her, however, only two bronze medals at both distances. In the same year, Otti received a university bachelor 's degree and married track and field athlete Nathaniel Page (later the marriage broke up).
Otti collected a large collection of medals at the world championships - in Helsinki in 1983 silver (200 meters) and bronze (relay 4 × 100 meters), in Rome in 1987, bronze medals at distances of 100 and 200 meters, in Tokyo in 1991 again bronze medals at the same distances and gold in the relay. In Stuttgart in 1993, Otti collected a complete collection of awards - bronze in the relay, silver at the 100 meter and the long-awaited individual gold of the world championship at 200 meters. At the Gothenburg World Championship in 1995, she defended the world champion title at 200 meters and twice became the second at 100 meters and in the relay.
In total, Otti won the world championships 14 times, which was not possible for any other athlete, both among women and among men. The last of these medals, bronze, Otti received at the 1997 world championships in Athens . It is noteworthy that of these 14 medals, exactly half are bronze.
In 1988, Merlin was left without an award at the Games in Seoul . At the 100-meter she did not go to the start in the semifinals, and in the relay 4 × 100 meters the Jamaican team refused to participate in the final. At the 200-meter Otti showed the second result in the semi-finals (22.07), the American Florence Griffith-Joyner became the best, setting a new world record (21.56). In the final, Griffith-Joyner still improved her incredible result (21.34), which to this day remains a world record - none of the women have ever run faster than 21.60 seconds. Ottie ran for 21.99 and remained fourth after Griffith-Joyner, her compatriot Grace Jackson (21.72) and German from the GDR Heike Drechsler (21.95). Otti’s own result in the final of the Games in Seoul was very high - he would allow her, for example, to become the second in the final of the 2012 Olympic Games in London . After the Games in Seoul at the Olympic Games in the 200-meter, no one ran faster not only Griffith Joyner, but also Jackson.
At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Otti showed a great result at a hundred-meter race - 10.86, her best result in running a hundred meters at the Olympics and one of the best in her career. However, she took only fifth place, as the five best athletes shared only four hundredths of a second at the finish. Merlin was the last in the top five. At this Olympics, Otti won only one medal, and again a bronze medal at 200 meters. This medal was Otti's fourth Olympic bronze in the absence of higher-ranking medals. Such a "scattering" of bronze medals led to the fact that the athlete received the nickname "Bronze Queen."
The 35-year-old runner came to her fifth Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996 at the peak of her form, was an unconditional favorite at both sprint distances, and was determined to finally win the Olympic champion title. Fortune, however, did not favor the athlete. At the 100-meter Otti showed the same result of 10.94 with the American Gail Divers , but the photo finish awarded Olympic gold to the rival of the Jamaican runner. At a 200-meter distance, the famous Frenchwoman Marie-Jose Perek , whose specialization had been 400 meters before, appeared on the distance. Perek confidently won the final race, leaving Otti second again. In the Olympic relay race 4 × 100 meters, the Jamaican team became the third, Otti received the fifth Olympic bronze.
Between 1979 and 1997, Otti was recognized 15 times in Jamaica as the best athlete of the year.
In preparation for her sixth Games in Sydney, Otti's doping test showed the content of the prohibited anabolic nandrolone. The athlete was threatened with a two-year disqualification and excommunication from the Games. Otti herself categorically insisted on her innocence. As a result of the court hearings, Merlin Otti was completely acquitted first by the national federation, and then by the international arbitration court, which allowed her to speak in Sydney  . However, the decision of the federation to include without selection the 40-year-old Otti in the Olympic team instead of the younger athlete Peta-Gaye Doudi, who won a place in the team at the national championship, caused a flurry of criticism, including from Jamaican athletes, including Merlin relay team 4 × 100 meters. Ottie, nevertheless, performed in Sydney with dignity for her age. After the disqualification of the American Marion Jones, she became the third at 100 meters (which made her the oldest athlete who achieved such success) and contributed to the silver success of the 4x100 meter relay.
After the Games, the conflict between Otti and the rest of the Jamaican athletics team only worsened and led the athlete to say “after Sydney, I said that I would no longer run after Jamaica ... because I feel that Jamaicans want to push me out of the sport and I had to prove that you can run at 40 ”  . Since back in 1998, the athlete moved to Slovenia to live with her coach Srjan Djordjevic, she applied for citizenship of this country, which was granted in 2002.
In 2004, Otti competed for her new homeland at her seventh Olympic Games - in Athens . At a distance of 100 meters, Otti dropped out at the semifinal stage.
After the Athens Games, reports were periodically published about the completion of a runner’s career, but in 2006, the athlete’s coach announced that she would prepare for the Beijing Games  . However, at the qualifying tournament in Maribor, Marilyn ran 0.28 seconds slower than the qualification standard of 11.32 seconds. Srjan justified it with bad weather  - headwind  .
In the summer of 2010, during the European Championships in Barcelona, where she became the oldest participant in the history of these competitions, Otti said that she did not exclude the possibility of trying to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London  . In the summer of 2012 she performed as a member of the relay team of Slovenia at the European Championships in Helsinki . Ottie did not perform at the Games in London.
- List of Athletes with the Most Participation in the Olympics
- Gail Divers lost gold as a result of photo finish
- Otti received the medal as a result of the redistribution of awards after the disqualification of champion Marion Jones
- Mikhail Potapov. Otti did not take stimulants . segodnya.ru. Date of treatment August 14, 2010. Archived March 10, 2012.
- Interview: Merlene Ottey . rediff.com (August 13, 2004). Date of treatment August 14, 2010. Archived March 10, 2012.
- Otti will go to Beijing . “Sports day after day” (August 23, 2006). Date of treatment August 14, 2010. Archived June 5, 2012.
- Otti was not selected . Sport Express (July 25, 2008). Date of treatment August 14, 2010. Archived March 10, 2012.
- Merlin Otti did not reach 0.28 seconds before the eighth Olympics . Kommersant (July 24, 2008). Date of treatment August 14, 2010. Archived March 10, 2012.
- 50-year-old runner Merlin Otti: It all started with a bear. Olympic! . Soviet sport (August 4, 2010). Date of treatment August 14, 2010. Archived March 10, 2012.
- Merlin Otti - Olympic statistics at Sports-Reference.com
- Merlin Otti - Profile on the IAAF Website
- Athlete profile on the official website of the Olympic Movement
- Athlete's Official Website
- Article about Merlin Otti in 7 Days Magazine
- Interview with Merlin Otti in the Novye Izvestia newspaper
- Interview in "Soviet Sport" on August 4, 2010