Team GB Track Runner Christine Ohuruogu On The Pressure Facing Young Female Athletes Today

'I think it gets a bit too much for them - they lose themselves.'

Christine Ohuruogu, 32, is a track and field athlete for team GB, specialising in the 400m. With a gold medal under her belt at the Beijing Games in 2008 and a silver at London in 2012, there were high hopes for Ohuruogu to win big at this year’s games. However sadly it wasn’t to be.

She came fifth in the women’s 400m race at this year’s Rio 2016 Olympics, losing out to Phyllis Francis, US, who came first; Stephenie Ann McPherson, Jamaica, second place; Olha Zemlyak, Ukraine, third place; and Oluwakemi Adekoya, Bahrain.

While there have been talks of retirement for the track athlete, that doesn’t mean she will stop being a role model to younger athletes, helping them through tougher times.

Speaking exclusively to Makers UK, Ohuruogu said that there’s a lot more pressure on young athletes now compared to when she was growing up.

“I think there’s a lot more pressure on the girls to succeed,” she said. “You throw in what people expect of them in terms of their appearance and contractual obligations, and all those kind of things, and I think it gets a bit too much for them - they lose themselves.

“It just becomes a place that’s not fun.”

She said that for her, sport has always been fun and something that she enjoyed. “The passion I have now is the same passion I had growing up,” she explained.

But she added that there’s huge pressure on young female athletes nowadays which makes her feel responsible, as a role model, to show them they can be themselves and succeed.

“I have a duty to pass on the things that have worked out for me and to be honest,” she said. “Because I’ve realised that a lot of these younger athletes are looking for someone to show them the way.

“It’s a lot harder for women in the sport now and it does seem a lot harder than when I was growing up in the sport.”

Before You Go