Passed/Failed: An education in the life of the Olympic gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu

'Sport was fine – if I got the grades'


Christine Ohuruogu, 25, MBE, is the first British female Olympic champion in the 400 metres. She has just launched the Aviva UKA Academy, a sports programme which aims to provide every child with the chance to be involved in athletics www.aviva.com/athletics.

In my second year in juniors I remember noticing the word "altogether" was quite long – but quite easy as it was based on three different words. Later, at university, I found linguistics was tremendous fun and I hope to be able to use it at some point, perhaps as a teacher. It looks at the structure and science of language and the common thread behind languages.

I loved West Ham Church of England primary school in East London; I went back there recently and they did an assembly about me. I was pretty active and playtime was the best time of the day for me.

I also loved St Edwards, a large, mixed Church of England comprehensive in Romford. It had very good facilities and I started taking netball seriously. I didn't make the team the first time and I vowed never to play again but then I went back and got picked. I did hockey and rounders and tennis in the summer and also trampolining and basketball. I joined in with athletics much later.

The boys had their own sports. The girls' interest in netball dwindled as the years went by and fewer and fewer would join in; I could never understand why. I was motivated because I wanted to make the team. I'm helping to launch the Aviva UKA Academy. As a kid growing up it would have been helpful in making sports more accessible to people of all abilities: just try! People are very competitive and if you didn't make the team you didn't play.

I did all right in my GCSEs, with one A* and six As. I don't think I was top of my year: it was a very bright year group. I felt it was time for a change and for the sixth form I went to Trinity Catholic High School in Woodford Green. I did history, English and biology at A-level and psychology AS. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get good grades but I got into the university I wanted.

I'd wanted to get away and picked five universities outside London and only one in London – but when it came to it I couldn't leave home and the coach I was working with (I was playing netball internationally for the England under-17 team) so I went to University College London. It was the best decision I ever made.

I wanted to do English Language and literature but UCL only offered linguistics and I chose that and hoped I'd like it. I think people were quite happy with my doing so much sport as long as I got the grades. It was a very hectic time and I was under a lot of pressure: I was in the England under-19s. I did turn up for a couple of matches for UCL but it was hard to be a regular player as I had to do my England training.

I got a 2.1. I was hoping the idea for a career would fall out of the sky. By the time I left university I was focused on athletics. I won the Commonwealth Games and was pretty much set up in terms of my athletic career. Do I think my sister Victoria, who is a sprinter, should have a career in athletics too? She's only 15: we just want her to pass her exams!

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style