Linford Christie


Linford Christie : biography

2 April 1960 –
  • All information taken from IAAF and UK Athletics profiles. IAAF; Retrieved on 2009-01-20

Personal life and family

His niece Rachel Christie was crowned Miss England in 2009 though later relinquished the title following allegations of assault. He has 4 kids


Early years

Christie was born in Saint Andrew, Jamaica, where he was brought up by his grandmother. At the age of seven he followed his parents, who had emigrated to Acton, London, England, five years before. He was educated at Henry Compton Secondary School in Fulham, London and excelled in physical education. He competed in the very first London Youth Games in 1977 for the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. Retrieved on 2013-02-19 He also joined the Air Training Corps in 1978, 336 (Hammersmith) Squadron. He did not take up athletics seriously until he was 19.

Christie’s early track career was not promising. He failed to make the Great Britain team for the 1984 Summer Olympics, not even being included in the sprint relay squad. It was not until he began to work in earnest under the coaching of Ron Roddan that he began to fulfil his potential.

In 1986, he was the surprise winner of the 100 m at the European Championships and finished second at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh at 100 m, behind Ben Johnson.

At the 1987 World Championships in Athletics in Rome, Christie came fourth in the 100 m, but was later awarded the bronze medal, when winner Ben Johnson was disqualified after admitting years of steroid use.

At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Christie won 100 m silver behind Carl Lewis after Ben Johnson, who set a world record in 9.79 seconds, was disqualified following a positive drug test for anabolic steroids, but later withdrew his participation to avoid the publication of his drug test.

Christie faced a disciplinary hearing himself in Seoul because of an adverse drug test for the banned stimulant pseudoephedrine after he ran in the heats of the 200 m. The hearing panel decided by a single vote to give Christie "the benefit of the doubt", so no sanction was applied.

In 1992, Christie became the third British athlete to win the Olympic 100 m, after Harold Abrahams and Allan Wells, winning the title ahead of Frankie Fredericks, of Namibia at the Barcelona Olympic Games.

In the absence of his great rival Lewis, Christie ran 9.96 s in the final, and at 32 years old became the oldest Olympic 100 m champion by four years.

In 1993, he became the first man in history to hold the Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth titles in the 100 m as he was victorious at the Stuttgart World Championships. He was also voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

After 1994, he was less successful. Christie was disqualified in the 1996 Olympic final after two false starts. He retired from representative international competition in 1997, BBC Sport (4 August 1999) Retrieved on 2009-01-20 although he continued to make appearances at invitation meetings.

In February 1999, Christie competed in an indoor meet in Dortmund, Germany. A routine unannounced drug test found the banned substance nandrolone. After a six-month delay, a disciplinary hearing was convened by the British Athletic Federation which found Christie to be not guilty. But the IAAF overruled and confirmed a two-year suspension. Christie is also banned for life from British Olympic Association teams.

When the story of the positive drug test was first leaked to the press, it resulted in Puma opting not to continue Christie’s £100,000 sponsorship contract. Three years earlier, at the Atlanta Olympics, Christie had worn contact lenses embossed with the Puma logo at the press conference preceding the 100 m final. (25 July 1996) Retrieved 2009-01-20 Reebok had paid $40 million to be the official sponsor, and Christie’s actions were seen as ambush marketing and a breach of Olympic rules on the wearing of sponsor’s logos by athletes.