Sport: Track and Field
Country: Great Britain
Sotherton was born in Newport on the Isle of Wight. As a teenager, she played netball for Hampshire, but also won two English Schools championships in the heptathlon.
She moved to the Midlands in order to train with 2000 Olympic heptathlon champion Denise Lewis. She made her senior British team debut in 2002. She is a member of Birchfield Harriers athletics club.
The javelin throw is clearly her weakest discipline and has been cited as the main reason for her lack of medals at the 2005 World Championships and 2006 European Championships.
She trains at the grounds of the athletics club Birchfield Harriers, which is based in Birmingham, England. She was educated at Sandown High School and Brunel University.
She gained international recognition in 2004 when she unexpectedly won a bronze medal at the Summer Olympics in Athens behind Carolina Klüft (gold) and Austra Skujyte (silver), scoring 6424 points and finishing ahead of defending Olympic champion Lewis who dropped out due to injury.
In March 2005 she competed in the European Indoor Championships, where she took silver once again behind Klüft.
Götzis, Austria in May Sotherton was again beaten into second, behind the Swede, but she did record a personal best of 6547 points.
At the AAA's National Championship in July, Sotherton competed in four individual events and took her first senior national title, winning the long jump with a jump of 6.48 metres.
At the 2005 World Championships Sotherton had held a medal position going into the sixth event, despite some below average performances, but a disastrous javelin saw her drop out of contention. Sotherton did manage to knock nearly 2.5 seconds off her personal best to win the final 800 m but despite closing the overall gap on those ahead she only finished fifth.
In March 2006 she competed for England in the hepathlon at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. She took gold with a score of 6396, ahead of Kylie Wheeler of Australia (silver) and her team mate Jessica Ennis (bronze).
In August 2006 she competed for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the hepathlon at the 2006 European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg. She came seventh ahead of her team mate Jessica Ennis after a disappointing javelin event caused her to drop from second.
Kelly Sotherton at an athletics meeting in The Netherlands, 20072007 saw Great Britain host the European Indoor Championships, in Birmingham.
Carolina Klüft led after the hurdles, but Sotherton and compatriot Jessica Ennis trailed closely behind. The high jump saw Ennis take the lead over Klüft and Sotherton, with a jump of 1.91, but Sotherton set a personal best for indoors of 1.88. Seven points separated Klüft and Sotherton. In the shot put, Sotherton took a two-point lead ahead of defending champion Klüft. The long jump saw Klüft take a 24-point lead over the Briton. In the 800 m, a strong event for Sotherton, she needed to take 1.6 seconds from Klüft to see her beaten for the first time since 2002. Sotherton set a personal best 2:12.54, but Klüft also set an underscored her previous mark to win by 17 points. This was her smallest winning margin ever. Sotherton took silver, and Karin Ruckstuhl the bronze. In one of the best pentathlons of all time, many athletes set national records and Klüft and Sotherton rose to second and fourth on the all-time lists respectively. Sotherton also set a Commonwealth record by 200 points.
In 2007, the World Championships were held in the Japanese city of Osaka. Sotherton started the first day with a personal best of 13.21 seconds in the 100 metres hurdles. She then came within a centimetre of her Personal Best in the High Jump with a 1.86 m performance. A Season's Best of 14.14 m followed in the shot put and Sotherton ended the day with a second Personal Best in the 200 m, with 23.40. On the second day, Sotherton hit 6.68 m in the long jump, to stay in medal contention, but again the javelin saw a weak performance, with Sotherton throwing just 31.90, finishing last. However, Sotherton put in a strong performance in the 800 m, running 2:11.58 to just beat teammate Jessica Ennis to the bronze medal, with 6,510 points.
In February 2008, Sotherton competed in a three-event triathlon, at the Indoor Grand Prix, in Birmingham, against a field including Carolina Klüft.
Sotherton started with a below-par performance in the long jump, allowing Klüft to take the lead. Sotherton then won the 60 m hurdles in a personal best of 8.17 seconds. Despite running a personal best (and the fastest time by a Briton that season) of 52.47 seconds in the 400m, Sotherton took second behind Klüft, who won by 18 points.
After Klüft pulled out of the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Sotherton became favourite for the gold medal. She lived up to expectation in the 60 m hurdles, winning in 8.25 seconds. However, Sotherton put in a well below-par berformance in the high jump, achieving only 1.81 m, against Tia Hellebaut's 1.99 m., and Sotherton slipped to third and then to fifth after the shot put. Sotherton then won the long jump with 6.45 m, moving into second, behind Hellebaut, who set a Belgian record of 6.41 m. Hellebaut held a considerable lead entering the final event, the 800 m. Sotherton needed to beat the Belgian by 7.7 seconds to win gold. Sotherton set a personal best of 2:09.95, with Hellebaut collapsing over the line in 2:16.42, 6.47 seconds behind Sotherton, and the Briton had to again settle for silver.
After Klüft's retirement from heptathlon in 2008, Sotherton had been tipped by many people to take gold at the 2008 Olympics, including Klüft herself. However after a disappointing performance she could only manage 5th place in the competition. Lyudmila Blonska was later disqualified for failing a doping test and Sotherton was upgraded to fourth. She had previously labelled Blonska a cheat, and questioned the validity of Blonska's silver medal at the World Championships in 2007. She was also part of the 4 × 400 m relay team which finished fifth in the final.
The following year, Sotherton struggled with injuries and although she was selected for the 2009 European Indoor Championships she had to withdraw due to heel problems.
Women Athletes for Track and Field