Christine Ohuruogu out to inspire 'Olympic legacy defenders'

Inspire: The Olympic Journey - BBC One, Saturday 19 October, 13:15 BST. Interviews with Christine Ohuruogu, Great Britain's boxing hopefuls at the World Amateur Championships and Britain's Finn sailors.

Christine Ohuruogu is visiting every school in the London borough of Newham - where she grew up and home to the Olympic Stadium - to inspire young people to replicate her feats.

Ohuruogu won silver in the 400m at London 2012, gold at Bejing 2008 and is a two-time world champion.

"I want to tell the kids you can't go back to how it was before, you've got to build on the Games," said Ohuruogu.

"Use the stories you got from the Games and go out and achieve great things."

Ohuruogu's major honours

Christine Ohuruogu
  • 2005 - World Champs bronze, 4x400m
  • 2006 - Commonwealth gold, 400m
  • 2007 - World Champs gold, 400m; bronze, 4x400m
  • 2008 - Olympic gold, 400m
  • 2012 - World Indoors gold, 4x400m; Olympic silver, 400m
  • 2013 - European Indoors gold, 4x400m; World Champs gold, 400m; bronze 4x400m

Ohuruogu, 29, was raised in Stratford, less than a mile from the Olympic Stadium, but says she was not a fan of her borough in her formative years.

"I didn't particularly like it growing up," said Ohuruogu, who has visited about 25 schools in Newham so far but, by her own reckoning, has about 75 to go.

"But now I'm trying to tell these kids: 'Now you can be proud of Newham. Present yourselves in a way that shows you're proud of your borough. Set yourselves a high standard and hopefully others will see that and rise to it.'

"We all talk about legacy but the most important defenders of this legacy are the residents themselves - they're the ones who know what goes on and can drive it.

"If I can get the kids motivated, they're smart enough and enthused enough that they can carry the flame on."

Ohuruogu played a high standard of netball as a teenager before a single comment by a teacher turned her onto athletics.

She said: "No man or beast was going to stop me playing netball but a teacher said to me at a sportsday when I was 16: 'You look like you've been coached.'

"Until then, I didn't realise you could be coached to run, I thought you just ran. I didn't even watch track and field on TV - I just knew people like Linford Christie and Colin Jackson did stuff and won golds.

"If the kids can just remember one thing I say and tell that to somebody else, that's how things work - little things lead to big things."

Ohuruogu said being a celebrity is "just not her" and prefers to try to inspire youngsters in other ways.

"There's no point in being blessed if you're not passing it on, not showing other people how to be better or how to do better," she said.

"I like to get my hands dirty, to see what's happening - that's how I enjoy myself.

"Nothing is more fulfilling than when you tell a kid something and you can see them thinking: 'That's what I'm gonna do.' People can learn more from me doing that than seeing me in a glossy mag doing nothing."