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


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?
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
Life and Style

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
One of the 'princesses' in the video
videoYouTube reinstates sweary video after takedown for 'violating terms'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Systems Tester - Functional/Non-Functional/Full Life Cycle

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Tester - Functional/Non-Func...

SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfordshire - £350 - £360

£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...

Business Intelligence Consultant - Central London - £80,000

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Consultant - C...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£70 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Teaching Assistants needed in...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?