Jamaica’s sprint queen: Happy birthday, Merlene Ottey!

Merlene Ottey runs a quarterfinal race of the Women’s 200-metre race of the 1991 IAAF World Championships on August 29, 1991, at the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo: David Madison)

Merlene Joyce Ottey, Jamaica’s medal maiden, the queen of speed, the greatest to ever do it, celebrates her 60th birthday this Sunday, May 10.

To mark her diamond year, BUZZ presents some interesting tidbits on Merlene Ottey:

  • She was the four of seven children born to Hubert and Joan Ottey in the parish of Hanover. Merlene was born in Cold Spring on May 10, 1960.
  • Ottey, along with fellow Jamaican great Usain Bolt as well as Carl Lewis and Allyson Felix, is one of four athletes to win twenty or more medals at both the Olympic Games and World Championships.
  • Having participated in seven Olympic Games from 1980 to 2004, Ottey clocks the record for the most appearances by any Track & Field athlete.
  • She’s still the fastest to ever compete in the 100- and 200-metre events in a single day, with 10.93s and 21.66s (32.59 total) at the 1990 Weltklasse Zurich grand prix.
  • In the sprints, Ottey towered above the competition with 57 consecutive wins in the 100-metres – the most consecutive wins over the distance for a female, and 34 consecutive wins at 200-metres.
Only the best birthday for our forever queen! 😍❤🙌
  • Ottey has won the most career Olympic medals (nine medals: three silver and six bronze) in women’s track and field, a record now shared with American sprinter Allyson Felix (six gold and three silver).
  • Ottey ranks at number four on the all-time list of the 200 metres, and number seven on the 100 metres list.
  • Ottey still holds the record for running the fastest women’s Indoor 200 metres, in 21.87 seconds. The record, which has stood since 1993, remains (as of 2016) the only sub 22sec clocking by a woman indoors.
  • Leaving Jamaica to live in and compete for Slovenia since 2002, Ottey left 10 years later. Since 2013, she currently lives in Switzerland.

Happy birthday to the Queen of the Track, from all us here at BUZZ!