Linford Christie Biography
Linford Cicero Christie is British former sprinter considered as the most decorated male British athlete ever. Though he emerged in the track scene at a rather late stage of life for a sprinter, he successfully created a niche for himself. He has won 24 major championship medals that included winning gold medals in 100m dash of all the four major events where a British athlete can perform namely the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, European Championships and World Championships – becoming and remaining the only British male athlete to achieve such feat. His accomplishments included one gold and two silver medals at the Olympic Games; one gold, one silver and two bronze medals in World Championships; two silver medals in World Indoor Championships; three gold, one silver and two bronze medals in European Championships; three gold and one bronze medals in European Indoor Championships; and three gold and two silver medals in the Commonwealth Games. The races included 60m, 100m, 200m and 4x100 m relay. Christie remains the first European sprinter to achieve sub-10 Seconds timing in 100m and till present holds the British record with his 9.87 s run set at the 1993 World Championships. He also held European records for 60m, 100m and 4 x 100 metres as well as world indoor record for 200 metres, later surpassed by other athletes. He enlists as the third fastest sprinter among all time greats. He was inducted as MBE in 1990 and as OBE in 1998. His name was included in ‘London Youth Games Hall of Fame’ in 2009 and in ‘England Athletics Hall of Fame’ in 2010.
- He was born on April 2, 1960, in Saint Andrew, Jamaica, to Mabel Christie and James Christie among their seven children. Initially raised by his grandmother, he joined his parents in Acton, London at seven years of age.
- He attended ‘Henry Compton Secondary School’ in Fulham, London where he excelled in physical education.
- The first ‘London Youth Games’ held in 1977 saw him participating for the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.
- In 1978 he joined British youth organization ‘Air Training Corps’.
- He seriously contemplated athletics at 19 years of age; however he could not accomplish much in the initial stage of his track career. In 1979 he began training under coach Ron Roddan, whom he first met in his school. Roddan trained him at the West London Stadium and the association of the two remained all through the track career of Christie.
- He was not included in the 1984 Summer Olympics team for Great Britain.
- He came out as a surprise package in 1986, capturing his first gold medal after emerging winner of the 100m title of 14th European Athletics Championships held at the Neckarstadion in Stuttgart, West Germany and also earned a bronze medal in the 4x100 m relay event.
- Other accomplishments of Christie in 1986 remains securing the 200m title at the European Indoor Championships held at Madrid and finishing second both in 100m and 4 x 100 m events at the Commonwealth Games held in Edinburg.
- Although he finished fourth, Christie received the bronze medal in 100m at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics held in Rome as Ben Johnson the winner was disqualified after he admitted use of steroids for years.
- In 1988, he again secured a gold medal at the European Indoor Championships, this time in 60m dash held at Budapest, Hungary, but finished third in the 200m event earning a bronze medal. His first Olympic Games success came in Seoul, South Korea, that year with two silver medals in 100m and 4x100 m relay respectively. Though he finished second in 100m he set a new European record with his 9.97 seconds.
- 1990 proved to be quite promising for him. He started off the year capturing two gold medals in 100m and 4x100 m relay respectively at the Commonwealth Games held in Auckland, New Zealand. Moving on he secured gold in 60m at European Indoor Championships held at Glasgow, UK; and another gold medal in 100m at European Championships held at Split, SFR Yugoslavia. He also earned a silver medal and a bronze medal respectively in the 4x100 m relay and 200m events at European Championships that year.
- In March 1991, he won two silver medals each in the 60m and 200m runs at World Indoor Championships held in Seville, Spain. He also bagged a bronze medal in 4x100 m relay at World Championships held that year in Tokyo, Japan.
- He finally triumphed in capturing an Olympic gold by winning the 100m title in 1992 Summer Olympic Games held at Barcelona, Spain and with this became the oldest athlete at the age of 32 years and 121 days to achieve such feat. He is the third British sprinter after Harold Abrahams and Allan Wells to become Olympic 100 m champion.
- In 1993 he went on to win 100m World Championships title as also finished second in 4x100 m relay event held at Stuttgart, Germany. With this he became the first ever male sprinter in the game’s history to hold 100m title of all the four major competitions that is the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, the European Championships and the World Championships. The BBC Sports Personality of the Year went to him that year.
- In August 1994 he won two 100m titles, first at the 16th European Athletics Championships held in Helsinki, Finland and then at the Commonwealth Games held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
- In 1995 he set a European record of 6.47 s in 60m later surpassed in 1999 by another British sprinter Jason Gardener with 6.46 s. He also set a 200m indoor record that year clocking 20.25 seconds at Liévin, France.
- Christie is the holder of three current 35–39 masters athletics world records - the current M35 world record of 9.97 seconds in 100 m, achieved on September 23, 1995; the current M35 world record of 20.11 seconds in 200 m, achieved on June 25, 1995; and current M35 indoor record of 6.51 seconds in 60 m, achieved on January 3, 1997.
- Following his two false starts, Christie faced a disqualification in the 1996 Olympic final.
- In 1997 he took retirement from representative international competition but made appearances at invitation meetings.
- In 1999 IAAF imposed a two-year ban on Christie from athletics after being tested positive with performance-enhancing drug nandrolone. Subsequently the ‘British Olympic Association’ declared that going by their rules, they would not accredit Christie for any future Olympic Games.
- Post retirement from track career he took over to coaching and helps Darren Campbell and Katharine Merry in this pursuit.
- From 1998 to 2000 he remained host of the BBC show ‘Record Breakers’. He was co-host of another BBC series ‘Garden Invaders’. He stepped into acting with BBC’s children's drama series ‘Grange Hill’ in 2000 and later appeared in BBC’s television drama series ‘Hustle’. He also took part in British reality television show, ‘I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!’ in 2010.
- Christie officially has six children and is rumoured to have two more secret children.
- In 2009 his niece Rachel Christie became Miss England, but she relinquished the crown due to an allegation of assault.
- The ‘West London Stadium’ was re-christened after him as ‘Linford Christie Stadium’ in 1993.
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