Beijing Olympic Bronze Medallists: The Reaction

It has taken nearly a decade but Christine Ohuruogu, Kelly Sotherton, Marilyn Okoro and Nicola Sanders have officially became Olympic 4x400m medallists. The quartet were awarded their 4x400m relay bronze medal at the Anniversary Games and were greeted to a rousing reception from the home crowd inside the London Stadium. In 2016 a reanalysis of samples from the Beijing Games resulted in doping violations for Russia’s Tatyana Firova and Belarus anchor runner Sviatlana Vusovich, resulting in the British team moving from their original place of fifth to claim bronze.

For Sotherton, this is a third Olympic medal of her career – and the second to be awarded retrospectively – adding to heptathlon bronze medals at both Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

The day also saw Ohuruogu pick her fourth medal from an Olympic Games, becoming a gold medallist in the 400m at the same Games as well as securing 400m silver and 4x400m bronze at London 2012 and Rio 2016 respectively.

While for both Okoro and Sanders, the pair finally have the chance to wear an Olympic medal around their necks for the first time. Meanwhile, this day has come closest to the end Ohuruogu’s career than anyone else’s – hanging up the spikes earlier in 2018 – with this moment finally bringing the curtain down on her esteemed career.

Kelly Sotherton said: “We were really excited, we were all in our Beijing kits and it’s the first time in the ten years since that we’ve all been together.

“We were so disappointed after the race that we didn’t have a debrief or anything like that but now we’re all together, it makes it worth the angst.

“We had a full stadium of British people celebrating our medal with us – it isn’t gold but this bronze means a lot, particularly for two people who have never been on the Olympic podium before.

“For me it’s more for them, it’s the end of a journey we’ve all been on and we’re all retired now – but we got the national anthem, which we wouldn’t have got in Beijing, and there may have been some tears or emotion there.

“It’s overwhelming, even more so when we were out there. My mum was here, and some aunties and cousins, while I also have some coaches there with me – if I wasn’t for those people I wouldn’t have got to the Olympics in the stage I was to be able to get this bronze medal.”

Nicola Sanders said: “It’s mixed feelings for me, it’s ten years down the line and it’s a bit bittersweet, but it’s not bad for a second option.

“It was in the stadium in front of the home fans with a lap of honour and I think it’s nice to have a big, packed stadium – it’s nice to finally get the recognition.

“I’ve been retired for four years now and away from the athletics scene so it’s nice to be back and seeing everyone again, get back in the team spirit and share this moment.

“I’ve got my mum and dad here, they were there in the Bird’s Nest in Beijing so have shared that heartbreak – it’s nice for them to be here for them to finally see that medal.

“And my husband-to-be is here as well, we weren’t together in 2008 so it’s nice for him and his family to see a reward for my career that they only heard about.”

Marilyn Okoro said: “It’s nice to finally have that medal around my neck. There’s a lot of elation, my friends and family were here and haven’t often seen me at many Championships I’ve been to.

“I’m just really happy, even though it’s been ten years we can celebrate this moment in a home stadium.

“As soon as I put the kit on, so many memories came back. Beijing has always been my favourite championship and you never forget your first Olympics. “They really fought for me to be on the team, I was considered a bit of a risk as an 800m runner so it’s so nice to be back with them.”

Christine Ohuruogu said: “I was a bit weird about coming to receive it but when you’re there, standing on the podium and realising that the past is the past, you can put the kit back on and enjoy it all over again,” she said.

“Even if the moment is lost from ten years ago, you can find it again, it’s a good lesson in life and we were able to get it in London.

“Doing my best and knowing that whatever happens, happens has been a big help in my career. I got a little bit emotional on the podium, it’s capped off the year for me.”