Christine Ohuruogu finds there is life, and literature, after the 2012 Games

European Championships give children's author another golden chapter to write on the track

Gateshead

According to Neil Black, the British Athletics performance director, Christine Ohuruogu has made her best ever start to a summer track season because she has found a joyous spring in her step. "She just seems to be happy in her life and that happiness and contentment is coming across very strongly," Black ventured, on a visit to Tyneside ahead of the European Team Championships at Gateshead on 22 and 23 June.

The assessment was noted with a fit of the giggles by Ohuruogu. "That is funny," the former world and Olympic 400 metre champion said, after regaining her composure. "So I was miserable before, then?"

Not so much full of misery, exactly, as wound up by the pressures of preparing for what was, for the Stratford woman, a backyard Olympic Games. It started the minute the East Ender struck Commonwealth gold in Melbourne in 2006. The first question put to her in the MCG was about carrying the home hopes as a local girl towards London 2012. It was a question she could not run away from for six years, through the highs of World Championship and Olympic golds in 2007 and 2008 and the lows of three injury-plagued years that followed.

Having emerged from 2012 with a home Olympic 400m silver, Ohuruogu has started 2013 like a woman with a burden lifted. A notoriously slow starter, she has opened her season with clockings of 50.58sec for second place at the Jamaica Invitational and 50.53sec for third spot at the opening Diamond League meeting in Doha.

"I think for a lot of British athletes, 2012 was the hardest thing we'll ever go through," the linguistics graduate reflected. "It always hovered like this cloud and you were never quite sure how you were going to come out of the end of it. You could imagine – maybe I'll do all right, maybe I won't – but until it had gone you could not actually breathe and say, 'Oh, the sun still rises; life still goes on.' I think, for a lot of athletes, no matter how they did, it's nice to come out of the other end and say, 'Yeah, there is life after 2012.' It is a relief, almost."

Ohuruogu turns 29 on Friday. For all that she has accomplished in life, on and off the track, there are new chapters yet to be written. Amid all the fuss about the home Games, it passed without much notice that she became an author in 2012. She had two children's books published – Camp Gold: Running Stars and Camp Gold: Going for Gold. They tell the tale of Maxine, a schoolgirl who suddenly discovers a talent for running and sets out on a path towards Olympic gold.

"Yeah, I do have two books out there," Ohuruogu said. "I couldn't really do much to publicise them in the run-up to the Games because the focus was just so intense. Then, after the Games, I didn't want people to go out and buy them just because my name was on them and I'd won silver. I wanted people to buy them because they really wanted their kids to read them. I didn't want to use it as a gimmick just to drum up publicity.

"I really enjoyed writing them. I wanted to focus on getting young girls doing sport. I got in a bit about how I grew up and put a bit of adventure in. Writing for children is really hard but it's really rewarding. I'd love to do it again in the future."

The immediate future for the J K Rowling of the track is a Diamond League date in New York on 25 May, followed by the European Team Championships on Tyneside next month. Britain has twice won the European Cup at Gateshead, but that was when it was split into a men's and women's competition, the male squad triumphing in 1989 and 2000. Since the merger in 2009, there has been no sniff of a GB success but hopes are high of the combined class of 2013 mounting a strong challenge to the favoured Russians in front of what promises to be sell-out home crowd.

A winning contribution by Ohuruogu would be a step in the right direction. Only two British women have ever won the 400m in the European Cup or European Team Championships: Lillian Board in 1967 and Mel Neef in 1995.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer / Web Designer

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leader in the e-cigarette ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leader in the e-cigarette ...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future