Why Did Paula Radcliffe Drop Out Of 2012 Olympics?

The question of why did Paula Radcliffe drop out of the 2012 Olympics has come up a couple of times on this blog recently. It’s a question that a lot of British runners are interested in because Paula Radcliffe is such a household name and it was such a disappointment for many not to see one of their heroes in a home Olympics event.

Prior to 2011, Radcliffe took around 18 months off racing, during this time she had her second baby. She returned to racing with a 10k in London, but was unhappy with her time and place, coming in 3rd. She later indicated that she had a back problem which had cause discomfort during the race. She entered the Berlin marathon in 2011 in an attempt to set an Olympic qualifying time and achieved what most people would consider an unbelievably fast time of 2h23m, however, Paula was not happy with her performance, finishing in 3rd place.

However, Paula continued to train for the 2012 London Olympics. The problem came with a flair up of an existing issue – osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is caused by a degeneration of cartilage or the subchondral bone which lies under the cartilage and contains the bone marrow. This is a very painful condition and ultimately caused Paula to drop out of the race. She ended up having surgery to treat the condition after having been told that she may not be able to run again.

The video below shows an interview with Paula Radcliffe during the 2012 Olympic games:

Paula is planning to compete in the 2015 London Marathon as her last Marathon.


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Avid runner, cyclist and judoka.