• Bunce on Olympics

Ohuruogu is a true Olympic hero

Steve Bunce August 6, 2012
Christine Ohuruogu went agonisginly close to gold © PA Photos

She was angry with the silver in the 400 metres and she walked home from the Olympic Stadium just to prove that she could. It took Christine Ohuruogu ten minutes, by the way, and I hope people applauded her every step.

Medal Table

In the Olympics that are on her doorstep she had no right to get anywhere near a medal. It's been a tough four years for Ohuruogu with injuries and bad form. She has been disqualified for false starting at the World Championships, seriously hurt and her gold in Beijing was clearly not enough to put the true local girl on any posters. Some said that she was happy being off the walls.

It has also been fairy tale after fairy tale for the Stratford woman in other ways. The gold in China and the silver here are satisfying objects that complement her ambition and determination. "I will cherish them," she said. She is not, it has to be said, a cuddly, crying medal winner.

I like Ohurougu's attitude. She was a drug doubt before Beijing because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She never failed a test, she just never showed up at the right place or the right time for the tests. Thankfully, she was selected and that was fairy tale No. 1.

A few weeks ago, and what seems a lifetime in the world of British athletics, our Christine won for the first time this year in the pouring rain at Crystal Palace. How quaint and dated that July day now feels.

She is a true local idol, a woman from the streets now dwarfed by Olympic bunting and swamped by Olympic people. It's hard to recognise her Stratford at the moment. It is hard, but not impossible. The 'other' shopping centre at Stratford is the one with the pound shop, the 99p shop and the stalls selling yams. There would be a 99 1/2p shop if half-pence was still used.

"She is a nice girl in this area," said Ineta, the barista at Costa Coffee in Mile End.

After Christine's win her parents filed away and walked home and their daughter joined them the next morning. I would not be surprised if the local idol was out shopping with her mum for a few essentials an hour or so later. She seems to be that type of woman.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Steve Bunce Close
Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.