Linford Christie

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Linford Christie : biography

2 April 1960 –

Though more famous for his exploits over 100 m, Christie broke the world indoor record over 200 m with 20.25 s at Liévin in 1995, and remains the third fastest sprinter on the all time list. IAAF Retrieved on 2009-01-20 He remains the British record-holder at 100 m, with the 9.87 s he ran at the 1993 World Championships.

By the end of his track career Christie had won 24 medals overall, more than any other British male athlete before or since. He was appointed MBE in 1990 and OBE in 1998.

Later years and relationship with the press

In 1998, less than six months before his first positive drug test Christie won a libel action against the journalist John McVicar. McVicar had insinuated in a satirical magazine that Christie’s remarkable rise from 156th in the world to triumph at an age when he should have been in decline could only have been achieved through performance-enhancing drugs.

The jury found in Christie’s favour by a 10–2 majority. The judge ordered that McVicar should be bound by an injunction restraining him from accusing Christie of taking banned substances. The modest £40,000 damages awarded were outweighed by the cost Christie incurred to bring the case.

Christie’s response to the press accusations

After the judgment, McVicar called Christie "The Judy Garland of the 100 metres", referring to the emotion that Christie had given before the court.Thackray, Rachelle (28 June 1998). The Independent; Retrieved on 2009-01-20

During this case, Christie raised another of his grievances with the media – comments about the figure-hugging running suits that Christie wore in his races. The term Linford’s lunchbox had been coined by The Sun newspaper in reference to the bulge of Christie’s genitalia in his Lycra shorts.

"Linford’s lunchbox is one of my grievances with the media. I don’t like it … Nobody ever goes on about Sally Gunnell’s breasts … I think it is disgusting, I don’t like it at all."L. Christie & T. Ward, Linford Christie: An Autobiography (1990, updated 1996 as To Be Honest With You) In court, the judge Mr Justice Popplewell, caused hilarity by asking Christie to explain the phrase, asking "What is Linford’s lunchbox?" The reference became a part of pop culture, as evidenced in a joke by Nick Hancock: "There’s nothing new you can say about Linford Christie, except he’s slow and has got a small penis".

Christie’s anger at this unwanted attention led to his infamous "newspaper print" running suit, although he has deliberately drawn attention to his body on occasions: he has remarked that "A lot of people have looked at my physique and two things can come into their mind – admiration and envy."L. Christie & J. Nicholson, A Year in the Life of Linford Christie (1996) and appeared shirtless and flexing his muscles on the BBC youth series Reportage in 1988.

In recent years, however, Christie appears to have come to terms with the ‘lunchbox’ label, disclosing his preference for briefs rather than boxer shorts, and in 2002 becoming the "face" of Sloggi, the men’s underwear brand, posing for advertising wearing only underwear.. Swindon Advertiser (12 June 2002) Retrieved on 2009-01-20Brooke, Simon (30 January 2003) The Times; Retrieved on 2009-01-20

[[B of the Bang: a sculpture named after a Christie quotation]]

In 1993 Christie formed a sports management and promotions company, Nuff Respect, with sprint-hurdler Colin Jackson. One of their early products was a sports training and workout video, The S Plan: Get Fit with Christie and Jackson. Jackson was later to leave the enterprise, saying "Linford has to be in control, he has to be number one, he has to be the leader."Colin Jackson, The Autobiography (2003) Since his positive drug test Christie – who had worked as a presenter on the BBC children’s programme Record Breakers and also had a contract with BBC Sport – has spent less time as a public figure and has devoted most of his time to managing his company.