The next in my series of women Olympians is Jenny Meadows. Jenny was born in Wigan in 1981 and attended the Deanery High School. Jenny was the winner in the English Schools Junior Championships in 800 m 1995. In 1998, she was 3rd at the AAA Junior Indoor Championships over 400 m. She also made her junior international debut and finished second in the English Schools Championships.
Jenny went on to study English with Physical Education and Recreation at Liverpool Hope University. Whilst there she ran the fastest leg for the Great British team at the World Junior Championships; helping to secure the gold medal. In 2001, she finished 6th at the European Under 23 Championships, and gained a gold medal on the 4 x 400 m relay.
Jenny was then moved up to the senior British team and enjoyed almost instant success in 2002, winning the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games as part of the England 4×400 m relay squad.
In 2005, she made an attempt to run the qualifying time for the European Indoor Championships 800 m, but with little help from opposition, she failed to achieve fast times, front running and winning both her semifinal and final. It was this year that she really started to improve at 800 m outdoors, setting two personal bests, and finishing third at the AAAs.
On 21 June 2008 in Annecy, Jenny ran brilliantly to win her first European Cup victory over 800 m. On 18 July 2008 Meadows improved her personal best in the 800 m to 1:59.11 at the Paris Golden League meeting. On 19 July 2008 her place in the Beijing 2008 Great Britain Olympic Team was confirmed. Jenny qualified for the semi-final of the 800 m in 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.
Unfortunately Jenny was only placed at six, but has since been improving, and has said that she has learnt from all she has been through so far. I can think of no better time than London 2012 for Jenny to use her experience and undoubted talent in front of an adoring crowd to bring home a medal for Britain.