How Victoria Ohuruogu finally stepped out of her sister’s shadow

That an Ohuruogu will wear the red bib denoting the country’s fastest 400 meters runner at this weekend’s British Championships is nothing new.

For years, it was expected that Christine, an Olympic and double world champion, would triumph on the national stage. Now, four years on from her retirement, the name lives on.

Through her entire career, Victoria has had the dual blessing and curse of being Christine’s younger sister. A steady rise in her late teenage years earned a number of British relay vests, before she swiftly plateaued, seemingly destined never to break out from the shadow of her only sister, who she trained with most days.

As the years passed by and toil failed to yield results on the track, her personal best from 2013 remained resolutely stuck. Then, after a year out “jaded with the sport”, she returned anew post-lockdown and began blasting out the type of fast times she had always dreamed of.

Off the back of four personal bests in her last four outdoor 400m races, she is now Britain’s fastest woman this year and on the cusp of securing her own legacy with her first individual spot on a GB team. Aged 29, Victoria is ready no longer just to be Christine’s sister.

“Through my whole athletics career I looked up at my sister, so everything I did was comparing myself to her at the same age,” Victoria told the Telegraph Sport. “That’s how I rated how well I did.

“I think I struggled with the comparisons probably more than I realized. For the longest time I was known as Christine’s sister, which I accepted, but there were times when I wasn’t running well and would hear so much negative stuff from people: ‘She’s only good for training’ or ‘She can’t compete ‘.

“I thought I was dealing with it, but maybe on a subconscious level it was doing something negative to my mind.

“For the most part I saw it as a huge positive: I had a super-successful sister and I could train with her. It was great as a younger athlete trying to emulate her.

“Now I’m realizing as I get older that I thought I was dealing with it, but it was probably quite rough.”


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