Born on 17th of December 1973
Paula Radcliffe is perhaps Britain's most famous and most loved modern Olympian being very well known, especially for her exploits in the marathon.
Radcliffe was only 19 years old when she beat Wang Junxia to win the 1992 IAAF World Junior Cross country title in Boston and made her presence felt in the world of cross country running.
She started her Olympic career at the Atlanta 1996 games where she finished 5th in the 5000m. Radcliffe then took silver at the 1999 World Championships in the 10000m discipline. She had to settle for fourth in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, narrowly missing an Olympic medal after leading for much of the race.
Paula Radcliffe has two world cross country titles, the first came in Brussels in 2001 in a sprint with old rival Wami.
Paula suffered disappointment at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, when she failed to finish. She recovered to win World Championship gold in Helsinki in 2005. The Cheshire born lass has won the New York marathon twice and the London marathon on three occasions. Beijing is her fourth appearance at the Olympic Games.
Paula Radcliffe was warded the Sportswoman of the year title in 2005 by the Sports Journalists Association before she took a break from the sport to have a baby.
She was awarded the MBE in 2002. Other awards include British female athlete of the year in 1999, 2001 and 2002, and IAAF world female athlete of the year in 2002.
Like many Olympians, Radcliffe is from a sporting family. Her great aunt Charlotte Radcliffe won an Olympic swimming medal in 1920 when she was part of the British 4x100m freestyle relay team that took silver.
Paula married former international 1500m runner Gary Lough in 2000. She gave birth to a daughter, Isla, on 17 January 2007.
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