Jenny Meadows

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Jennifer Meadows
Jenny Meadows bronze medal berlin world championships.jpg
Meadows with her bronze medal after the 2009 World Championships
Personal information
Born (1981-04-17) 17 April 1981 (age 42)
Wigan, Greater Manchester, England
Height1.52 m (5 ft 0 in)
Weight47 kg (104 lb)
CountryGreat Britain
Event(s)800 metres, 400 m
ClubWigan & District Harriers
Turned pro2004
Coached byTrevor Painter
Now coachingKeely Hodgkinson
Achievements and titles
Highest world ranking800 m: 3 (2009)
Personal best(s)
  • 800 m: 1.57.93 (2009)
  • 400 m: 52.67 (2003)
  • Indoors
  • 800 m: 1:58.43i (2010)

Jennifer Brenda "Jenny" Meadows (born 17 April 1981)[1][2] is a retired British athlete. Her main event was the 800 metres, although she previously competed also over the 400 metres. She won the bronze medal at the 2009 World Championships, and a silver at the 2010 World Indoor Championships. At the European Athletics Championships, Meadows took silver outdoors in 2010 and gold indoors in 2011. She also had some international success as part of the Great Britain women's 4 x 400 metres relay squad.

Meadows was the 2011 Diamond League 800 m winner. In 2009, she was the third-fastest British woman over the distance, and currently is the eighth-fastest as of 2022. She was multiple British national champion (mostly indoors). Meadows, along with other athletes such as Caster Semenya and Alysia Montano, has been noted in the press as one of a number of athletes who were repeatedly denied major international medals by doping competitors, particularly from Russia.[3][4]

Early career[edit]

Schools championships[edit]

In January 1989, 7-year-old Jenny Meadows joined Wigan & District Harriers.[5] She was the 800 metres winner at the English Schools Junior (under 15 in this case) Championships in 1995.[6] In 1998, she was third at the AAA Junior Indoor Championships in the 400 metres. She also finished second over the distance at the English Schools Championships.[citation needed]

GB team[edit]

The 18-year-old represented United Kingdom in the women's 4 × 400 metres relay at the 1999 European Athletics Junior Championships in Riga.[2] A year later, she ran the fastest leg of the women's 4 × 400 metres relay for the British team at the World Junior Championships held in Santiago, helping to secure the gold medal. In 2001 at the European Under-23 Championships in Amsterdam, she finished sixth in the 400 m, and gained a gold in the women's 4 × 400 m relay.[2]

Senior career[edit]

During 2000s, she gradually shifted to the 800 metres distance as her specialist event. In 2002, she won her first senior British title in the indoor 800 m to take gold in the indoor 400 m a year later.[2] Apart from relays at several major events, Meadows represented Great Britain at the 2001 European U23 Championships (400 m), 2002 European Indoor Championships (800 m), home 2003 World Indoor Championships (400 m), and 2003 European U23 Championships (400 m).[2] She reached the 800 m semi-finals at the 2006 World Indoor Championships in Moscow in a time of 2:03.95; women's 4 × 400 m relay squad finished sixth.

The 25-year-old reached the final and placed fifth in the 800 m event at the European Indoor Championships Birmingham 2007, and went out of the competition in the semi-finals of the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan with 1:59.39.[2] This was Meadows' first season, when she ran under 2 minutes and she did it both indoors and outdoors.[2]

2008: Beijing Olympics[edit]

She finished fifth in the final of her new signature event at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain.

On 21 June 2008, in Annecy, Meadows achieved her first European Cup victory over the 800 m. On 18 July, she improved her personal best in the event to 1:59.11 at the Paris Golden League meeting. On 19 July, her place in the Beijing 2008 Great Britain Olympic Team was confirmed along with Marilyn Okoro and Jemma Simpson. Meadows qualified for the semi-final of the 800 m event at the Olympic Games after finishing 3rd in her heat with a time of 2.00.33, and in the semi itself ran close to her personal best in a time of 1.59.43, finishing in sixth place.[2]

2009: World bronze medallist[edit]

She had a successful indoor season during 2009 winning the UK Championships / European Indoor Trials, setting a new indoor personal best of 1.59.52 at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix, and finishing in fourth place in the European Indoor Championships in Turin, Italy.[2]

On 27 July, her place in the Great Britain Team for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany in August was confirmed, along with Jemma Simpson and Marilyn Okoro. On 28 July, Meadows set a new outdoor personal best of 1.58.63 at the IAAF Super Grand Prix, Herculis in Monaco.[7] On 19 August, she took the bronze medal in the World Championship 800 m final in a new lifetime best of 1.57.93, becoming the third-fastest British women of all time at the event.[1] In a BBC interview after winning the bronze medal, Meadows commented: "It proves you should never say never, you should always believe in yourself. If you work hard and keep the faith, good things will happen."[8]

2010: World Indoor Championship & European Championship silver medals[edit]

Meadows started the season in great form and on 20 February broke the 7-year British indoor 800 m record, formerly held by Kelly Holmes, with a time of 1:59:11 in Birmingham. She went on to improve her record at the World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar on 14 March, where she was awarded the captaincy of the Great Britain team, and claimed the silver medal in 1:58.43.[2]

At the European Championships in Barcelona, Meadows won a bronze, which was later upgraded to silver due to a doping offence by the Russian winner.[9]

Meadows won the 800 m race at the Aviva International Match in Glasgow in 2011

2011: European indoor champion & Diamond League winner[edit]

At the Paris European Indoor Championships, she earned two medals, securing the silver medal for the 800 m event and a silver as part of British women's 4 × 400 metres relay.[2] As the Russian winner was eventually banned for doping, silver for her individual event was later promoted to gold.[3]

On 31 July, at the age of 30, Jenny finally won her first British senior outdoor title with an 800 m victory at the Aviva National Championships in Birmingham to become national champion.[1]

Meadows won three of the seven Diamond League 800 m races in 2011 – in Shanghai, Birmingham (promotional event) and London (earning $10,000 a win) – to win the overall Diamond League 800 m title.[2] Each overall winner earned an additional $40,000 (US Dollars) in prize money.

She reached the semi-finals of the World Championships Daegu 2011 in South Korea (1:59.07). All three Russian finalists including Yuliya Stepanova, who denied Meadows qualification for the final from the semi, were later disqualified for doping.[3]


Meadows (far right) leads the pack at the 2013 European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg

Achilles injury in 2012 forced her to miss competing in her home London Olympics and in the whole season.[5]

She only competed in two competitions in 2013. Much to the delight of the British fans, Meadows returned to action in February of that year (her first time since September 2011) and finished second at the British Indoor Grand Prix. She placed fourth in the final of the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg in March, just months after undergoing ankle surgery.[2] The following year, at least one athlete who finished ahead of her was banned for doping offences, however, the result of this event remained unchanged.[3] In the summer of 2013, she injured in turn her thigh and was ruled out of the outdoor season, including 2013 World Championships.[5]


Meadows returned to competition at the start of 2014, running the indoor season and then taking part in her first outdoor season since 2011. She steadily improved performances and on 16 June her place in the England Team for the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was announced. At the British National Championships in June, she secured a bronze. Jenny finished in sixth place at the Commonwealth Games.[2]

She had the best indoor 800 m mark of the 2014/15 season in the world.[10] She was a favourite for the title at the European Indoor Championships in Prague but days before the event contracted a heavy cold/flu and was not at her best. She ran the heats and semi-final but was not well enough to contest the final. Meadows described this as a real low of her career after battling back from injury and drugs cheats for a cold/flu to take away her victory this time. She competed throughout the rest of 2015 but was very disheartened by what she had faced the past few years. She was eliminated in the semi-finals at the World Championships Beijing 2015.[2]


The 35-year-old announced her retirement on 7 July 2016, after an injury sustained in the semi-final of the 2016 European Championships in Amsterdam meant that she would be unable to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.[11]

Non-competitive career[edit]

Meadows was head athletics coach for Manchester City Council before becoming a full-time athlete.[12] She has appeared on the BBC's A Question of Sport in Matt Dawson's team on 13 March 2010, and on the BBC's Mastermind in December 2011, in which her specialist subject was Wigan Warriors.[13]

In 2017, she worked as a pacemaker at major events, including IAAF Indoor Permit, IAAF World Challenge and Diamond League meets.[2][14]

After retirement, Meadows has worked as a UK Athletics coach, athletics commentator and event host. She joined the BBC Sport team covering athletics at the 2016 Rio Olympics.[citation needed] She has worked as a commentator for World Athletics at least since 2019, as of 2022.[15] She was a pundit on the BBC coverage of the 2022 European Athletics Championships.

Since 2019 Meadows has been a Director of Totally Runable Ltd, a company co-founded by Emily Freeman who work with schools using running to build confidence in sport. She is also part of Keely Hodgkinson's coaching team along with her husband Trevor Painter.[16]


International competitions[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Time
Representing  Great Britain /  England
1999 European U20 Championships Riga, Latvia 4th 4 × 400 m relay 3:36.62
2000 World U20 Championships Santiago, Chile 11th (sf) 400 m 54.27
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:33.82 WJL
2001 European U23 Championships Amsterdam, Netherlands 6th 400 m 54.05
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:31.74
2002 European Indoor Championships Vienna, Austria (h) 800 m i DNF
2002 Commonwealth Games Manchester, United Kingdom 2nd 4 × 400 m relay 3:30.63 [n 1]
2003 World Indoor Championships Birmingham, United Kingdom 10th (sf) 400 m i 53.36
4th 4 × 400 m relay i 3:32.18 NR
European U23 Championships Bydgoszcz, Poland 7th 400 m 53.17
2nd 4 × 400 m relay 3:30.44
World Championships Saint-Denis, France 6th 4 × 400 m relay 3:26.67
2004 World Indoor Championships Budapest, Hungary 7th (h) 4 × 400 m relay i 3:33.30 SB
2006 World Indoor Championships Moscow, Russia 9th (sf) 800 m i 2:03.95
6th 4 × 400 m relay i 3:29.70
European Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 4th 4 × 400 m relay 3:27.92 [n 1]
2007 European Indoor Championships Birmingham, United Kingdom 5th 800 m i 2:00.25
World Championships Osaka, Japan 11th (sf) 800 m 1:59.39 PB
2008 World Indoor Championships Valencia, Spain 5th 800 m i 2:03.51
European Cup Annecy, France 1st 800 m 2:01.20
Olympic Games Beijing, China 15th (sf) 800 m 1:59.43
World Athletics Final Stuttgart, Germany 7th 800 m 2:00.80
2009 European Indoor Championships Turin, Italy 4th 800 m i 2:00.42
European Team Championships Super League Leiria, Portugal 2nd 4 × 400 m relay 3:29.29
World Championships Berlin, Germany 3rd 800 m 1:57.93 PB
3rd 4 × 400 m relay 3:25.23 SB [n 1]
World Athletics Final Thessaloniki, Greece 3rd 800 m 2:00.41
2010 World Indoor Championships Doha, Qatar 2nd 800 m i 1:58.43 NR
European Championships Barcelona, Spain 2nd 800 m 1:59.39
2011 European Indoor Championships Paris, France 1st 800 m i 2:00.50
2nd 4 × 400 m relay i 3:31.36
European Team Championships Super League Stockholm, Sweden 1st 800 m 1:59.47
World Championships Daegu, South Korea 9th (sf) 800 m 1:59.07
2012 European Championships Helsinki, Finland 800 m DNS
2013 European Indoor Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 4th 800 m i 2:01.52
2014 European Team Championships Super League Braunschweig, Germany 7th 800 m 2:03.97
Commonwealth Games Glasgow, United Kingdom 6th 800 m 2:02.19
2015 European Indoor Championships Prague, Czech Republic – (f) 800 m i DNS
World Championships Beijing, China 22nd (sf) 800 m 2:00.53
2016 European Championships Amsterdam, Netherlands 17th (sf) 800 m 2:03.13

Circuit wins and titles[edit]

800 metres wins.

National titles[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Time from the heats; Meadows was replaced in the final.


  1. ^ a b c "Jenny Meadows – Profile". Power of 10 / Retrieved 1 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Jennifer MEADOWS – Athlete profile". World Athletics. Retrieved 1 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b c d Bloom, Ben (14 December 2014). "Jenny Meadows left angered by Russian drug claims". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Jenny Meadows: 'I almost retired because I didn't think clean athletes could win'". 26 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Lewis, Aimee (6 February 2014). "Meadows back after 'physical & mental' torture". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  6. ^ "English Schools Championships (Girls)". Archived from the original on 18 September 2022. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  7. ^ Turner, Chris (2009-07-28). Hurdlers delight on a spectacular evening in Monaco – IAAF World Athletics Tour. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  8. ^ Kessel, Anna (19 August 2009). "Caster Semenya wins 800m gold but cannot escape gender controversy". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  9. ^ "Hodgkinson and Muir lead the British charge in the middle and long distances in Munich 2022". European Athletics. 12 August 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  10. ^ "Season Top lists – 800 m Women – World Indoors | 2014/15". World Athletics. Retrieved 16 September 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Rio 2016: Jenny Meadows retires after injury ends Olympic hopes". BBC Sport. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Jenny's a role model". Manchester Evening News. 10 May 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  13. ^ "BBC Celebrity Mastermind". BBC. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  14. ^ Bloom, Ben (3 October 2017). "Jenny Meadows: 'I couldn't believe it - I would run two-thirds of a race and earn more than when I was competing'". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  15. ^ Women's 800m Final | World Athletics Championships Doha 2019. World Athletics. 6 April 2020. Event occurs at 2:26. Retrieved 11 March 2022 – via YouTube.{{cite AV media}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ Henderson, Jason (9 October 2020). "Multiple targets for Keely Hodgkinson in 2021". AW. Retrieved 30 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]