Frankie Fredericks

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Frank (originally Frankie) Fredericks (born October 2, 1967) is a former athlete from Namibia. Running in the 100 metres and 200 metres, he won four silver medals at the Olympic Games (two in 1992 and two in 1996), making him Namibia's first and so far only Olympic medalist. He also won gold medals at the World Championships, World Indoor Championships, All-Africa Games and Commonwealth Games. He is the world indoor record-holder for 200 metres, with a time of 19.92 seconds set in 1996.

He has broken 20 seconds for the 200 metres on 24 occasions – more times than any other man.

Contents

Biography

Born in Windhoek, Frankie Fredericks was awarded a scholarship at Brigham Young University in the U.S. in 1987. In 1990, after his country had become independent of South Africa, Fredericks could participate in international competition. At the World Championships that year, Fredericks won a silver medal in the 200 m, finishing behind Michael Johnson, and placed 5th in the 100 m.

The following year, at the Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics, Fredericks became Namibia's first Olympic medalist when he finished second in both the 100 m and 200 m. In 1993, in Stuttgart, he became the nation's first World Champion, winning the 200 m.

In the 1994 Commonwealth Games, he won gold in the 200 m and bronze in the 100 m. His time of 19.97 seconds in the 200 metres is the current Commonwealth Games record.

In the 1995 World Championships 100 m, after crossing the line he immediately went to help his friend Linford Christie who pulled a muscle in the race and signalled for help. This act of kindness endeared him to many (particularly British) athletics fans.

For the 1996 Summer Olympics, Fredericks was among the title favourites for both the 100 m and 200 m. He reached both finals, and again finished second in both. In the 100 m, he was beaten by Donovan Bailey, who set a new World Record, and in the 200 m he was beaten by Michael Johnson, who also set a new World Record. At the time, Fredericks's second place run was the third fastest run in history, beaten only by Johnson (twice).

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