Olympic Sprinter Ottey Has Thigh Surgery

(06-29) 08:39 PDT LJUBLJANA, Croatia (AP) –

Seven-time Olympian Merlene Ottey underwent surgery for a thigh muscle tear Wednesday, dashing her bid for a record eighth world championship appearance.

Doctors at a clinic in Ljubljana said the 45-year-old Jamaican-born star would likely be able to resume light training in about four weeks. The world championships start Aug. 6 in Helsinki, Finland.

Ottey said she hurt her left thigh in the 200-meter semifinals at the Athens Olympics last year. Although Ottey, who has been racing for her adopted home Slovenia since 1999, said she would retire after Athens, her coach Srdjan Djordjevic, said she wasn’t ready to hang up her spikes.

“This is not the end,” Djordjevic said in a phone interview from Spain. “Merlene is keen to continue competing and she will now turn her focus to next year’s European Championships.”

Ottey, who has won 14 medals and is the most decorated athlete in the history of the world championships, told the daily Slovenian Delo that the operation won’t end her career.

“I’ll be ready for the Europeans,” she said.