Christine Ohuruogu admits there has been a lot of “heartache and hassle” since winning Olympic gold in Beijing, and yesterday confirmed that defending her title on home soil played a part in deciding to soldier on.
Ohuruogu has been plagued by injuries since adding the Olympic title to her World Championship crown, missing both the European Championships and Commonwealth Games last year.
The 27-year-old has not broken 50 seconds for the 400 metres since the Olympic final in 2008, while her personal best of 49.61 seconds dates back to the World Championship final in Osaka the previous year.
And while Ohuruogu is rightly proud of her medal collection, she feels she still has more to achieve before she can “close the lid” on the 400m.
Asked if she would have retired if not for the 2012 Games being held on her doorstep - she was raised less than a mile from the Olympic site - there was a long pause before Ohuruogu said: “I still think I would have continued. It maybe would have been a lot easier on my down days to say ‘Oh forget it’ if the Olympics weren’t coming to London.
“But even though I won in Beijing it wasn’t how I wanted to run. I think there’s a lot more I need to do before I can finally close the lid on the 400m.
“If I was just satisfied with winning in Beijing I probably would have retired a long time ago and saved myself a lot of heartache and hassle. But I love what I do and I believe there is always something more I can do, something more I can achieve so this is why I keep on going.
“I love athletics. I do think it’s the number one Olympic sport. It’s one of the hardest sports out there and I believe every time I go there I’m pushing myself as hard as I can.”
Ohuruogu will be competing at the Aviva UK Trials and Championships this weekend and the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on August 5-6. For more information on the Aviva Series go to uka.org.uk/aviva-series