Sprint Queen Merlene Ottey Takes Up Modeling
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Merlene Ottey, the second-fastest woman sprinter in the world, is launching a new career in the fashion world, a Jamaican official announced Thursday.
It was unclear if Ottey would continue to race. She was not available for comment.
Ottey, 36, was one of the most decorated women’s Olympic sprinters in history, even though she failed to win a gold medal. In five Olympics, she collected two silver medals and five bronzes.
``I have to announce that Merlene Joyce Ottey ... starts a new dimension to her illustrious career, that of modeling and (fashion) designing,″ Arnold Bertram, Jamaica’s minister for special projects, said Thursday.
But sources in the Jamaica Amateur Athletes Association said Ottey could not retire until she had completed a contract with a sporting goods company that expires next year.
Ottey’s biggest victory came at the 1993 World Outdoor Championships, where she won the 200 meters. Prior to that, she had won five bronze medals and one silver at the outdoor championships.
She was consistently ranked in the world’s top 10 in both the 100 and 200.
During a stretch from May 1989 to early March 1991, Ottey won 73 consecutive finals and 15 heats. In 1990, she won all 36 finals, with a one-day 10.93 in the 100 and 21.66 in the 200 at Zurich, Switzerland, both into the wind, and a one-year record of seven sub-22.00 200s.
Ottey beat U.S. Olympic gold medalist Gail Devers in the 100 meters in 10.74 seconds, the fifth-fastest time ever, in the IAAF Grand Prix finals at Milan, Italy, last month. Only Florence Griffith Joyner has run faster than Ottey _ four times.