Ashia Hansen
Personal information
Born (1971-12-05) 5 December 1971 (age 49)
Evansville, Indiana, US
SportTrack and field
ClubBirchfield Harriers
Medal record

Ashia Hansen, MBE (born 5 December 1971) is a retired British triple jumper. Fourth in the 1996 Olympic final, she broke the world indoor record when winning the 1998 European Indoor title, and went on to win gold medals at the World Indoor Championships in 1999 and 2003, at the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and 2002, and at the 2002 European Championships. Her British records of 15.15 metres (1997 outdoors) and 15.16 metres (1998 indoors), still stand.

Early life

Although born in the United States, Hansen was adopted when she was 3 months old by a Ghanaian father who worked for the United Nations and his Caucasian English wife.[1] They moved to Ghana before settling down in London when she was eight.[2] She was often the only black child at her East London school and later spoke of the racist sentiment and teasing she experienced.[3] She discovered a talent for running and was introduced to athletics by a teacher. Although she competed in her first international at age 17, she remained ambivalent about turning professional and only gave up her day job seven years later to fully commit herself.[2]

Athletics career

Hansen trained at Ilford AC then Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club in Birmingham, along with other successful British athletes such as Denise Lewis, Kelly Sotherton, Mark Lewis-Francis and Katharine Merry.[4] She was trained by Commonwealth Games medallist Aston Moore.

At the 1998 European Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain, Hansen won the gold medal with a world record jump of 15.16m. This record lasted for 6 years. She is also the British record holder for the outdoor event with a jump of 15.15m in 1997.

Hansen won her first major outdoor gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with a jump of 14.32m.

At the 1999 World Indoor Championships in Maebashi, Japan, Hansen won Gold with a world leading jump of 15.02m.

At the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England Hansen retained her Commonwealth gold with a Games Record jump of 14.86m.

In 2002 Hansen won gold at the European Championships in Munich, Germany with a jump of 15.00m.[5]

Hansen won her second World Indoor title at the 2003 Championships in Birmingham, UK with a jump of 15.01m.

Hansen suffered a serious knee injury during the 2004 European Cup, requiring extensive surgery. She returned to triple jumping and competed at the British Championships, where she immediately climbed back to the top of the British rankings; however, she decided not to be part of the team for the European Athletics Championships that summer.[citation needed] She was hoping to make the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing but was unable to regain fitness in time and announced her retirement in July 2008.[6][7]

Competition record

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  Great Britain or  England
1994 European Indoor Championships Paris, France 17th (q) 13.30 m
European Championships Helsinki, Finland 15th (q) 13.45 m
1995 World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 21st (q) 13.61 m
1996 European Indoor Championships Stockholm, Sweden 2nd (q) 14.32 m[8]
Olympic Games Atlanta, United States 4th 14.49 m
1997 World Indoor Championships Paris, France 2nd 14.70 m (iNR)
World Championships Athens, Greece 5th 14.49 m
1998 European Indoor Championships Valencia, Spain 1st 15.16 m (iWR)
Commonwealth Games Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1st 14.32 m
1999 World Indoor Championships Maebashi, Japan 1st 15.02 m
2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia 11th 13.44 m
2001 World Championships Edmonton, Canada 7th 14.10 m
2002 European Indoor Championships Vienna, Austria 2nd 14.71 m
Commonwealth Games Manchester, United Kingdom 1st 14.86 m
European Championships Munich, Germany 1st 15.00 m (w)
2003 World Indoor Championships Birmingham, United Kingdom 1st 15.01 m

Personal life

In 2003 Hansen was made an MBE in the New Year Honours.[1]

Hansen has two younger sisters, one of them is her parents' biological child and the other an adopted cousin.[2] She has two kids.


  1. ^ a b "Ashia Hansen MBE". BBC. 31 December 2002.
  2. ^ a b c "High, wide and Hansen". 3 August 2003.
  3. ^ "The Monday Interview: Ashia Hansen – Leap of Faith". 22 July 2002.
  4. ^ "Birmingham and Black Country Hall of Fame". BBC. October 2005.
  5. ^ "Hansen leaps to glory". BBC. 10 August 2002.
  6. ^ "Britain's Ashia Hansen retires from Athletics ahead of Beijing Olympics". 9 July 2008.
  7. ^ "Ashia Hansen announces retirement". UK Athletics. 9 July 2008.
  8. ^ No mark in the final