Shaunae Miller-Uibo returns to “first love” 200m as next chapter in illustrious career begins

Just weeks after winning her first World Championship 400m title, Bahamas’ two-time Olympic gold medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo is returning to the 200m at the Diamond League in Silesia, Poland. She spoke to about the next stages of her glittering career and the legacy she wishes to leave behind in her sport. 

By Sean McAlister
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

The dust had barely settled on her sensational victory at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon when Shaunae Miller-Uibo called time on her 400m career and set out her plans to return to competing at the shorter 200m distance.

In truth, the Bahamian has nothing left to prove at 400m, having twice won Olympic gold and finally added the world title to her resume in a dominant display in Eugene.

“This is it,” she said in an exclusive interview with just a day after her World Championships win.

“Like I said, I’m over the moon about all I have accomplished in this event, and I’m so proud of myself. We finally ticked everything off and it’s been a long journey, and I’m just proud of the moment.

“But for me it’s just about going to my first love now with the 200 [metres] and just properly getting some training into it and just focussing on that.”

This won’t be Miller-Uibo’s first foray into the 200m - not even close. And while she leaves the single lap distance at the peak of her powers, she’s itching to prove herself in an event where she already holds the 21st-fastest time in history.

“I’ve put down 21.7 [seconds] without the speed training and so I’d definitely like to tap into it and see what we can do,” she said.

400m runners dominating the world in the shorter distances

When Miller-Uibo ties up her spikes for the 200m race at 6 August's Diamond League meet in Silesia, she will do so at a time when self-proclaimed 400m runners are ruling the roost in the shorter sprint disciplines.

The USA’s Fred Kerley dropped down from the 400m where he had won World Championships bronze in 2019 to deliver a sensational win in the 100m at this year’s Worlds, going one better than the silver he took at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (in 2021).

He had only began running the 100m in 2021.

"The bigger plan is still the 400m in the coming years," he said in an interview with FloTrack. "Right now I’m just focusing on getting my speed up so I can make history."

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson, who set the second-fastest time in history to win World Championships gold in 21.45 seconds, also considers herself first-and-foremost a 400m runner, stating only last year that: “If anyone asks me now, I’m like, ‘remember, I’m not a sprinter, you know.’ Next year, if I do carry on sprinting I’ll be like, ‘OK, I am a sprinter’, but for now I just like the term quarter-miler.”

For Miller-Uibo, the opportunity is there to challenge the Jamaican trio of Jackson, double Olympic 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and reigning world 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as she seeks to “have fun with it and see where we go” in this next chapter of her career.

Legacy key for a legend of the sport

At 28 years old Miller-Uibo is still in her prime, and the prospect of her transferring her skills back to an event she has already set records in is mouthwatering for fans of athletics.

In 2017, she won bronze in the World 200m final, while only finishing fourth in the 400m event she is most famous for. She also holds the world record for straight 200m races and won gold over the distance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Her return to the half-lap distance ties in well with a wider plan to leave her mark on the sport, while showcasing the values she has brought to the world of athletics.

“I just want my legacy to show the hard work I’ve put in over the years,” she reflected. “My little dream since when I was a little girl was just to be one of the best in the sport, and to be living out that dream is a true blessing.

“I just want to encourage the little kids coming up just to fight towards their dreams. Never give up, never let somebody tell you that you can’t do something and just always have fun with it.”

The fun starts now for Miller-Uibo’s 200m dreams as she leaves behind a glittering career as one of the greatest 400m the world has seen.


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