Okoro at the 2009 FBK Games
|Born||23 September 1984|
|Club||Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers|
|Achievements and titles|
|Highest world ranking||800 m': 7 (2008)|
|Personal best(s)||800 m 1:58.45|
|Updated on 11 October 2008.|
Marilyn Chinwenwa Okoro (born 23 September 1984 in London) is a British track and field athlete. She finished third in the 800 metres at both the 2007 and 2008 IAAF World Athletics Final. She was on the bronze winning 4 × 400 m relay at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics. She represented Great Britain at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and finished sixth (1:59.53 mins) in the semi-finals. She was part of the 4 × 400 m relay team which finished fifth in the final of the 2008 Summer Olympics although the team was later upgraded to bronze medal position following disqualification for doping offences of the teams finishing in third and fourth place.
She attended Stowe School, Buckinghamshire, and on 26 June 2007 graduated from the University of Bath with a B.A. degree in Politics and French, then starting her first season as a full-time athlete. She speaks four languages (English, French, Spanish and Igbo) and sings in the jazz band The Felonius Monks.
Marilyn suffered an injury plagued 2009 outdoor season, though she battled through the pain barrier to finish a very credible 8th in the World Championships 800 m final in Berlin. Okoro was also included in the squad for the 4 × 400 m, but was not selected in the line-up to run in the final. During the 2009 winter Okoro, along with training partner Montell Douglas had major knee surgery to try to eradicate the problems that hit her '09 track season. There has been some criticism that the Lee Valley track produces more injuries than championship performances.
Marilyn had a limited race schedule in 2010, but returned to a degree of form when taking bronze at the UK championships. Subsequently, Okoro was selected to challenge for a medal in the 800 m alongside Jenny Meadows and Jemma Simpson at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona. She finished 4th in her semi-final, therefore did not progress to the final. Okoro recovered from that disappointment to run the second leg in the 4 × 400 bronze medal winning quartet alongside Nicola Sanders, Lee McConnell and Perri Shakes-Drayton, clocking 52.0 seconds for her leg. She also ran in the heat running 51.8 seconds. Vicki Barr replaced Shakes-Drayton in the heats.
Okoro has been criticised heavily for her front running tactics, most notably by UK Athletics head coach Charles Van Commenee, who described Okoro's performance in the 800 m at the 2009 European Athletics Indoor Championships as "naive and unprofessional". Following her non-selection for the 800 m event at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Okoro accused Van Commenee of being "a bit of a bully."
Marilyn changed coaches during 2013, and then made the decision to move to the USA.
She represented Team England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, competing in the 800m.
Now back in the UK 2017, not racing but working with coach Trevor Painter and fellow 800m legend Jenny Meadows looking forward to working.
- Okoro, Marilyn. "Marilyn Okoro" (Interview). Interviewed by Spikesmag. Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
- "Marilyn Okoro Profile". olympics.org.uk.
- Great Britain's Women's 4x400 metres Relay Team to Receive 2008 Olympic Bronze
- "Middle distance star Marilyn crosses academic finishing line". teambath.com. 28 June 2007.
- Broadbent, Rick (16 January 2008). "New self-belief offers Marilyn Okoro hope she will be on song at Beijing Games". timesonline.co.uk. London. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- "Marilyn Okoro". olympics.org.uk.
- Broadbent, Rick (28 July 2008). "Marilyn Okoro chasing Kelly Holmes's legacy". timesonline.co.uk. London. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- "BBC SPORT | Van Commenee slams 'naive' Okoro". BBC News. 8 March 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- "London Olympics 2012: Bitter Okoro Attacks 'Bully' Van Commenee". Ibtimes.co.uk. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.