Fatima Whitbread MBE (born Fatima Vedad; 3 March 1961) is a British former javelin thrower. She won the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart, having broken the world record with a throw of 77.44 metres in the qualifying round the previous day. She went on to win the 1987 World Championships in Rome. She is also a two-time Olympic medallist, winning bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and silver at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Her former world record throw makes her one of only two women in history to have thrown the javelin (old model) over 75 metres.
Whitbread was born in Stoke Newington, London, to a Turkish Cypriot mother and Greek Cypriot father. She grew up in a series of children's homes, occasionally being left in the care of her abusive biological mother. In a 2003 interview with The Observer, Whitbread said, "It was a nightmare of a childhood and it was only because I loved sport so much that I got through it and met my true mother."
At the age of 14, she was adopted by the Whitbread family and spent her teenage years in Chadwell St Mary, Essex. Margaret Whitbread, her javelin coach, had offered to take her in when she realised that Fatima was spending a lot of time with her family. Whitbread attended Dilkes County Primary School and the Culverhouse Secondary School (now the Ockendon Academy), both in South Ockendon, Essex, then Torells School, Grays following her adoption.
Whitbread broke the javelin world record with a throw of 77.44m in the qualifying round of the 1986 European Championships in Athletics (where she also won the final) and became World Champion in 1987. She became well known in the UK for her celebratory wiggle after defeating arch-rival Petra Felke in these events. Her performances in 1987 led to her being voted winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
Whitbread had won the silver medal at the inaugural World Championships in 1983. She was also known for her rivalry with fellow British javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson, who won the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles with Whitbread finishing in bronze medal position. In the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Whitbread won the silver medal behind Petra Felke, who had broken the world record in the interim.
Whitbread is a one-time governor of King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford, Essex. According to a November 2008 Daily Express article, she owns her own company and is involved with the stadium being used after the 2012 Summer Olympics.[specify]
In 1997, Whitbread married Andrew Norman in Copthorne, West Sussex. They had a son who was born in the late 1990s. The couple divorced in 2006 after Whitbread discovered Norman was having an affair. Norman, who represented many athletes professionally, died of a heart attack in 2007.
Whitbread's autobiography, Survivor, was published in 2012.
On 26 December 2009, Whitbread took part in a celebrity version of the TV show Total Wipeout. She also appeared on an episode of Celebrity Come Dine with Me on 2 September 2011. On 19 December 2011, Whitbread appeared on a Christmas edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? partnered with Russell Watson. It was rumoured that she had been hired as This Morning's new fitness expert and made her first appearance on 5 January 2012.
On 21 July 2012, Whitbread appeared with Sharron Davies in the BBC One quiz show Pointless Celebrities which aired on 26 May 2012. On 21 July 2012, she was a contestant on an Olympians edition of ITV's The Cube. In 2014, she appeared on Celebrity Blockbusters on Challenge, and the following year took part in the ITV sports show Eternal Glory, but was the first celebrity to be eliminated.
Starting on 13 November 2011, Whitbread took part in the ITV show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. Whitbread and fellow camp mate Antony Cotton left after 21 days on 2 December 2011, placing third.
|Representing Great Britain / England|
|1978||Commonwealth Games||Edmonton, Canada||6th||49.16 m|
|1979||European Junior Championships||Bydgoszcz, Poland||1st||58.20 m|
|1980||Olympic Games||Moscow, Soviet Union||18th (q)||49.74 m|
|1982||European Championships||Athens, Greece||8th||65.10 m|
|Commonwealth Games||Brisbane, Australia||3rd||58.86 m|
|1983||World Championships||Helsinki, Finland||2nd||69.14 m|
|1984||Olympic Games||Los Angeles, United States||3rd||67.14 m|
|1985||World Cup||Canberra, Australia||3rd||65.12 m|
|1986||Commonwealth Games||Edinburgh, United Kingdom||2nd||68.54 m|
|European Championships||Stuttgart, West Germany||1st||76.32 m|
|Grand Prix Final||Rome, Italy||2nd||69.40 m|
|1987||World Championships||Rome, Italy||1st||76.64 m|
|1988||Olympic Games||Seoul, South Korea||2nd||70.32 m|
|(q) Indicates overall position in qualifying round.|
Locals remembered the day she married Andrew Norman in Copthorne's St John's Church. ... Fatima married her promoter and agent Andrew Norman in 1997, with the reception held at Copthorne Hotel Effingham Park.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fatima Whitbread.|
|Women's Javelin Best Year Performance