21 September 1974 |
Katharine Merry (born 21 September 1974 in Dunchurch, Warwickshire) is a former English female sprinter. A member of the Birchfield Harriers athletics club, Merry won a bronze medal in the 400 m sprint at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and was the fastest woman in the World over 400 m in 2001. She also represented Great Britain at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 1999 World Championships in Athletics.
Merry had a career that spanned 20 years. Aged 12 she topped the UK Under 13 rankings in 7 different events. She was the fastest girl in the world aged 14 years old, and started her international GB career aged just 13, and stayed on the junior team for a record 6 years, which included 5 Junior Championships, winning a total of 5 medals. She transferred into a successful senior athlete with her Olympic medal in Sydney, in the 'Race of the Games' winning bronze behind Australian favourite Cathy Freeman in Stadium Australia in front of 112,000 people. The following year she became World number 1. She was coached by fellow Olympic medallist Linford Christie in his Cardiff based training squad, which included fellow Olympic medallist Darren Campbell. She is also with Christie's sports agency Nuff Respect. Merry still holds various UK age record bests, including U/13 high jump and several sprints, as well as the Senior UK Indoor 200 m record of 22.83 secs. Also World age records, including aged 14, 7.35 secs for 60 m indoors.
She is 3rd on the UK All Time 400 m lists with 49.59 secs.
After suffering from a bone spur growth on her right heel bone, and after 2 operations, in July 2005 Merry announced her official retirement from athletics. She had been suffering from the injury since 2001 and was struggling to get it healed fully. It had prevented her from getting back into proper training, meaning she could not get back to her year 2000 form. Despite this, she still ended the 2001 season as the world's fastest female 400 m runner.
Merry now works freelance in the media on Radio and TV. This has included working in Beijing and London at the Olympics for the BBC, and was the sole field event commentator for the hugely successful Channel 4 coverage of the Paralympic Games in 2012, as well as working for Sky TV, Eurosport and Channel Five. A multi tasker Merry now commentates, presents and hosts sporting events around the world.
Merry appeared in All New Celebrity Total Wipeout on 25 September, where she struck up a rivalry with the man who in her words "ate all the pies", John Regis. She 'ran' the qualifier in 2:16, beating Regis by 50 seconds and then beating him again on the next two of the next three events (winning Crash Mountain 2nd to 6th, The Blob losing 1st to 3rd and winning The Beams 2nd to 3rd ) but losing finally in the Wipeout Zone, finishing 3rd behind Regis and eventual winner DJ JK. She won overall 3 events to 2. A regular on BBC A Question of Sport and BBC 5Live Fighting Talk. In December 2013 on the one episode she was on, Katherine Merry came 3rd out of four contestants on BBC Celebrity Mastermind with a specialist subject of Aston Villa 1980–1990. On Celebrity Mastermind each episode has four new/different contestants on it with the winner of each episode taking home a winner's trophy.
Merry was based in Cardiff while training with Linford Christie, before moving to Bristol after retirement. Merry married in September 2014 and lives in Birmingham. Her son was born in February 2011 and her daughter in March 2014. 
She is a supporter of Aston Villa football club.
|1989||European Junior Championships||Varaždin, Yugoslavia||7th||100 m|
|1990||World Junior Championships||Plovdiv, Bulgaria||8th||100 m|
|2nd||4x100 m relay|
|1991||European Junior Championships||Thessaloniki, Greece||3rd||200 m|
|2nd||4x100 m relay|
|1992||World Junior Championships||Seoul, South Korea||6th||100 m|
|4th||4x100 m relay|
|1993||European Junior Championships||San Sebastián, Spain||2nd||100 m|
|1st||4x100 m relay|
|1994||European Cup||Birmingham, United Kingdom||2nd||100 m|
|1996||Olympic Games||Atlanta, United States||8th||4x100 m relay|
|1998||European Championships||Budapest, Hungary||3rd||4x400 m relay|
|1999||World Championships||Seville, Spain||5th||400 m|
|2000||Olympic Games||Sydney, Australia||3rd||400 m|
|200m||22.76 (−1.0w)||22.83 (indoors) UK Record|
- Katharine Merry: 'I had surgery twice, then illness almost stopped my breathing. In the end, I couldn't go on' | Sport | The Observer
- Nuff Respect
|British Champion in 100 m
Paula Dunn Thomas
|British Champion in 400 m