Christine grew up in Streatham, London, just a mile away from the Olympic stadium where in 2012 she added a silver medal to the gold she won in China in 2008. A graduate in linguistics, she is one of eight children and was brought up in a home where Christian values were taught and upheld by the family.
But being a Christian does not mean we are immune from life’s challenges and problems. Amongst the athletic victories, Christine has had injury problems and the indignity of disqualification to cope with. Christine says it is her strong faith which has sustained her through the tough times.
2006 began well when she won Gold at the Commonwealth games in Melbourne. But problems followed when her chaotic training schedule meant that Christine missed mandatory doping tests and was subsequently suspended from all competition for the rest of the year. Faith and determination saw her confound the critics and return to top form in 2007 when, just 24 days after her return from suspension, Christine won Gold at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan. Just three months later she was cleared by the British Olympic Association for selection for the Beijing games. Just a year later she won Gold again, this time in the Olympics.
Christine said afterwards, “I could never have done this without God.”
Sadly, critics and the unforgiving tabloid press, rather than celebration her triumph continued to point the finger. After her outstanding victory at Osaka, the Sun Newspaper as self appointed judge, jury and executioner demanded: “Don’t make this the face of 2012.”
But Christine says that her faith helped her to understand the critics and to come through such dark times.
“I believe that everything that happens has a set path, that it is planned out before, so I have to trust that whatever happens to me is for the best. It may not seem to be the best at the time but you have to trust that it has a divine purpose. We have to remember that life’s circumstances won’t always keep us low. Things will change, things will get better, but things happen for a reason.
Cruel criticism, especially from those such as your home nation who you would expect to support you, can often destroy people. But Christine was able to overcome and she gives God the credit.
“I have learnt that life is like an elastic band. Sometimes our faith will be stretched so much and we may find ourselves flat on our face, but if we remain faithful we will bounce back. We have to trust that whatever happens, God is in control.”
Christine’s athletic achievements are impressive. She started by winning Bronze at the 2003 European Junior Championships. She became AAA champion in 2004, and was a member of the Olympic 4 x 400m team which took fourth place in Athens.
The decade from 2003 has had many challenges for this talented young athlete, but 2013 came good again for Christine. She won Gold at the summer World Championships beating Cathy Cook’s long standing British record and becoming the first British woman ever to win two World Championship gold medals at 400 metres.
2003 European Junior Championships 400m Gold
2004 Olympic Team Member 4x400m Fourth
2005 European Under 23 Championships 400m Silver
2005 European Under 23 Championships 4x400m Silver (Team medal)
2005 World Championships 4x400m Bronze (Team medal)
2006 Commonwealth Games 400m Gold
2006 Commonwealth Games 4x400m First* (Team placing)
2007 World Championships 400m Gold
2008 Olympic Games 400m Gold
2009 UKA Championships 400m First
2009 World Championships 400m Silver
2012 Olympic Games 400m Silver
2013 World Championships 400m Gold
2014 World Indoor Championships 4x400m Bronze (Team medal)
2015 World Athletics Championships 4x400m Bronze (Team medal)
2016 Olympic Games 4x400m Bronze (Team medal)
*Although they came first, the GB 4x400m team were disqualified due to a lane confusion.
Story by Ralph Burden
photo: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. Cropped version of Flickr photo by Nick J Webb