Fatima Whitbread MBE (born Fatima Vedad; 3 March 1961) is a British former javelin thrower and multiple medal-winner.
Fatima Vedad was born in Stoke Newington, London, to a Turkish Cypriot mother and Greek Cypriot father. She grew up in a series of children's homes, occasionally being left in the care of her abusive biological mother. In a 2003 interview with the Observer, Whitbread said, "It was a nightmare of a childhood and it was only because I loved sport so much that I got through it and met my true mother.
At the age of 14 she was adopted by the Whitbread family and spent her teenage years in Chadwell St Mary, Essex. Margaret Whitbread, her javelin coach, had offered to take her in when she realized that Fatima was spending a lot of time with her family. She attended Dilkes County Primary School and the Culverhouse School (now the Ockendon Academy), both in South Ockendon, Essex.
She broke the javelin world record with a throw of 77.44m in the qualifying round of the 1986 European Championships in Athletics (where she also won the final) and became World Champion in 1987. She became well-known in the UK for her celebratory wiggle after defeating arch-rival Petra Felke in these events. Her performances in 1987 led to her being voted winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
Whitbread had won the silver medal at the inaugural World Championships in 1983. She was also known for her rivalry with fellow British javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson, who won the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles with Whitbread finishing in bronze medal position. In the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Whitbread won the silver medal behind Petra Felke, who had broken the world record in the interim.
She is a one-time governor of King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford, Essex. According to a November 2008 Daily Express article, she owns her own company and is involved with the stadium being used after the 2012 London Olympics.
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 1
Many female celebrities in the past have admitted taking part in I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! solely to lose weight.
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 2
But when former Olympic champion Fatima Whitbread started dropping the pounds, it wasn't down to the meagre diet and energetic trials but a parasite the 50-year-old contracted in the jungle.
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 3
After travelling straight to an interview on Loose Women today after getting back into England, Fatima revealed the parasite has caused her to lose an astonishing 12 kilograms, or 1.8 stone.
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 4
Complimented on her figure by the girls, Fatima admitted the weight loss but said it wasn't entirely down to the parasite.
She said: 'I've got a parasite in the stomach because the lads didn't boil the water enough.
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 5
We were only eating about 200 or 300 calories a day and then you are working really hard and burning adrenaline on the tasks, carrying logs to make the fire and walking up inclines.'
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 6
However, the single mother said despite her illness, she would have loved to have stayed longer in the jungle.
Fatima, who made it to the final three of the show, said: 'I would have liked another day in the jungle but as the last girl standing I was effectively queen of the jungle!'
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 7
The athlete also spoke about the terrifying moment a cockroach crawled up her nose during one of the Bushtucker Trials.
She said: 'That was a scary moment - they edited it I know. It was up there for 20 minutes.
The doctor looked and said there was nothing there but I knew - you know when there is an alien body inside your body.'
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 8
'It took 20 minutes and three different solutions to flush it out. It shot out my mouth and he hit the ground running like an Olympic cockroach, but I got it.'
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 9
Fatima, who admitted recently that she had gone into the jungle to raise money for her mother and family, added she felt she was doing it for the female contingent during her time on the show.
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 10
She said: 'When you're up against some of those guys, us women have got to show them whose boss!'
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 11
Referring to campmate Mark Wright's lack of involvement in camp tasks, Fatima said: 'Mark is a bit of eye candy but he liked to pose a lot and he often helped out with the easy tasks rather than the ones where you had to walk further and carry the heavy trunks.'
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 12
During her interview today, Fatima also took the opportunity to have her say on the fact that there were no women the shortlist for BBC's Sports Personality of the Year.
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 13
She said: ''The top 6 is all men. Can you tell me why? I can name 3 women already off the top of my head who should be on that list - triathlete Chrissie Wellington, swimmer Rebecca Adlington and heptathlete Jessica Ennis.
Fatima Whitbread Photos - 14
Tell me guys, why aren't they on the top six?