Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

The Perils of Paula


Pressure from the British public to win an elusive Olympic title on the streets of London three years hence may explain some atypical public emotion from world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe.

Radcliffe, unfailingly gracious and an athlete who refuses to indulge in self-pity or to rail against the caprices of fate, is statistically the best woman marathoner ever.

However, illness forced her to withdraw from the 2004 Athens Games marathon and injury thwarted her bid in Beijing last year.

Radcliffe will be 38 in 2012 and, although she has talked of running in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the injuries mount and time slips away.