Kriss Akabusi

Last updated

Kriss Akabusi
Akabusi at Hyde Park, 2012
Personal information
Full nameKezie Uchechukwu Duru Akabusi
Born (1958-11-28) 28 November 1958 (age 62)
Paddington, London, England
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight81 kg (179 lb)
Sport Track and field
Event(s) Sprinting, hurdling

Kezie Uchechukwu Duru Akabusi, MBE (born 28 November 1958), [1] known as Kriss Akabusi, is a British former sprint and hurdling track and field athlete.


His first international successes were with the British 4×400 metres relay team, winning a silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics, golds at the 1986 Commonwealth Games and 1986 European Athletics Championships, and another silver at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics. He progressed individually in 400 metres hurdles from the late 1980s onwards, taking bronze at the 1989 IAAF World Cup. His time of 47.93 seconds to win the 1990 European Athletics Championships was a British record, and he also won gold at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.

He reached the peak of his career over the next two years, winning a hurdles bronze medal at the 1991 World Championships and anchoring the British team to a narrow victory over the American team in 2:57.53 minutes – a British record for the 4 × 400 m relay. He followed this with a British 400 m hurdles record of 47.82 seconds to take the bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where he also won bronze with the 4×400 m relay team. Since retiring from athletics, he has worked as a television presenter and motivational speaker. [2]

Early life

Born in Paddington to Nigerian parents who were studying in London, Akabusi would later be brought up in foster care with his brother Riba, after their parents returned to their country when he was four. [3] [4] Due to the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967, Akabusi was unable to stay in contact with his parents, although he would later be reunited with his mother in his teens. She was determined that her son should settle in Nigeria, but while Akabusi was keen to make up for lost time with the rest of his family, he remained in the United Kingdom, eventually visiting the African nation when he was twenty-one.[ citation needed ] He attended Edmonton County School. [5]

It was during this time that Akabusi, who is of Igbo heritage, [6] changed his first name from 'Kezie' to 'Kriss'. [7] He told an interviewer in 2002: "I decided to make a new start and part of that new start was to have a new name. I spelt my name with a 'K' because I didn't want to change my initials and I want to have some connections with my past. Kezie Akabusi was the connection to my past, but Kriss Akabusi is a connection with my future." [1]

Military career

Akabusi joined the British Army in 1975, having a career in the Royal Corps of Signals before switching to the Army Physical Training Corps (as it was then called) in 1981. In 1990, when he was discharged into the reserves at the end of his army career he held the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2. It was during his tenure in the military that his potential in sports was discovered.[ citation needed ]

Athletics career

In 1983, Akabusi embarked upon an athletics career, initially specialising in the 400 metres, before switching to the 400 metres hurdles in 1987. As a member of the British 4 × 400 m relay team, Akabusi won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In 1990, Akabusi broke David Hemery's longstanding British 400 m hurdles record of 48.12 seconds on his way to a gold medal at the European Championships, with a time of 47.93 seconds. He also won the 400 m hurdles gold medal at that year's Commonwealth Games.

At the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, Akabusi won the bronze medal in the 400 m hurdles and a gold medal as a member of the 4 x 400 relay team alongside Roger Black, Derek Redmond and John Regis, with Akabusi as anchor leg. At the start of the final lap, he took the baton in second place behind the American team, but eventually overtook American runner Antonio Pettigrew (who had won the 400 m individual event) on the final straight and crossed the line in first place to win the gold medal for Britain in a time of 2:57.53, a new British record.

At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona Akabusi won the bronze medal in the 400 m hurdles, lowering his British record to 47.82 seconds, a time which still stands. This was the same race in which Kevin Young set the world record, which also still stands. He also won a bronze in the 4 × 400 m relay.

Television work

Following his retirement from sports, Akabusi became a television presenter, working on several shows including Record Breakers (joining after the death of long-serving presenter Roy Castle in 1994) and The Big Breakfast , and regularly appeared as a panelist on many quiz shows such as A Question of Sport , They Think It's All Over and Through the Keyhole . In 1997 he appeared as a milkman on Last of the Summer Wine in the episode "There Goes the Groom".[ citation needed ]

Other appearances include: Come Dine With Me in 2011; [8] in an Olympic-themed advert for Nature Valley cereal bars in 2012; [9] a cameo in a red button episode of EastEnders ; [10] [11] The Big Fat Quiz of The 80's ; A League of Their Own ; Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Backchat .[ citation needed ]

In 2017, Akabusi became a commentator on ITV's Bigheads with Jenny Powell.[ citation needed ] He also featured on the fifth series of Big Star's Little Star with his son Alanam. Since 2018 he has regularly appeared in adverts for Ladbrokes online betting


In 1991 it was announced that he would be appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to the country through athletics. [12] In 1992 he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Southampton. [13]

Political views

In August 2014, Akabusi was one of 200 public figures who signed a letter to The Guardian expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in September's referendum on that issue. [14]

International competitions

Related Research Articles

Anthony Alexander Jarrett is a male former sprint and hurdling athlete from England.

Roger Black British sprinter

Roger Anthony BlackMBE is a British retired athlete. During his athletics career, he won individual silver medals in the 400 metres sprint at both the Olympic Games and World Championships, two individual gold medals at the European Championships, and 4 × 400 metres relay gold medals at both the World and European Championships. Since retiring from athletics, he has worked as a television presenter and motivational speaker. In 2008, Black joined forces with fellow athlete Steve Backley and operate BackleyBlack LLP delivering Olympic Performance in the Workplace. Black has a collection of fifteen medals from major senior athletics competitions to add to his two European junior championship gold medals.

Mark Anthony McKoy is a Canadian retired track and field athlete. He won the gold medal in the 110 metres hurdles at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He also won the 60 metres hurdles title at the 1993 IAAF World Indoor Championships, and the 110 metres hurdles titles at the Commonwealth Games in 1982 and 1986. He is the World record holder for the 50 metres hurdles with 6.25 secs (1986), and the Canadian record holder in the 60 metres hurdles with 7.41 secs (1993), and the 110 metres hurdles with 13.08 secs (1993).

Angelo Taylor American track and field athlete

Angelo F. Taylor is an American track and field athlete, winner of 400-meter hurdles at the 2000 and 2008 Summer Olympics. His personal record for the hurdles event is 47.25 seconds. His time puts him in a tie with Félix Sánchez for the #8 performer of all time. Sánchez also won two Olympic gold medals, in 2004 between Taylor's two golds and 2012, immediately following. Taylor also has a 400-meter dash best of 44.05 seconds, ranking him as the #21 performer of all time, superior to any other athlete who has made a serious effort in the 400 metres hurdles. He won the bronze medal in the 400 m at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics.

Nicola Sanders British sprinter

Nicola Clare Sanders is a British former track and field sprinter. She began her career as a 400 metres hurdles specialist before concentrating on the 400 metres from 2006 onwards. Her 400 metres personal best is 49.65 seconds. She holds the British indoor record with 50.02 seconds, which ranks her as the fifth fastest woman of all-time indoors.

L. J. van Zyl South African hurdler

Louis Jacobus van Zyl, better known as L. J. van Zyl, is a South African athlete competing in the 400 metre hurdles. He is the South African record holder in the event with a personal best of 47.66 seconds, which he achieved twice, three months apart. His time ranks him in the all-time top 25. He is a three-time African Champion in the event and competed for his country at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.

Derek Redmond

Derek Anthony Redmond is a retired British sprinter. During his career, he held the British record for the 400 metres sprint, and won gold medals in the 4x400 metres relay at the World Championships and European Championships.

Todd Anthony Bennett was a British athlete who competed mainly in the 400 metres.

Philip "Phil" Andrew Brown is a British male retired athlete who competed mainly in the 400 metres.

Garry Peter Cook is a male former British track and field athlete, who competed mainly in the 800 metres with a best time of 1:44.55 minutes.

These are the official results of the men's 4 × 400 metres relay event at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. There were a total number of 24 nations competing, with three qualifying heats.

This article is about the athletics in Jamaica from the early 20th century to 2019

Matthew John "Matt" Elias is a retired Welsh athlete who specialised in the 400 metres sprint and 400 metres hurdles. During his international career he represented Great Britain. In 2003 he won a gold medal at the European Championships and at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens he finished 5th in the 4 × 400 m relay, He is also a part of Super Schools.

Dai Greene Welsh hurdler

David "Dai" Greene is a British hurdler who specialises in the 400 metres hurdles, competing internationally for both Wales and Great Britain. In a 'golden' sixteen-month period between 2010 and 2011, Greene won the World, European, Diamond League and Commonwealth titles in the event, in addition to winning the event as part of both the European Team Championships and the IAAF Continental Cup. He is the second fastest British man over the 400 m hurdles, behind the British record holder, Kriss Akabusi.

Brian Whittle

Brian Ian Whittle is a Scottish politician and former athlete.

Eilidh Doyle British track and field athlete

Eilidh Doyle is a British track and field athlete who specialises in the 400 metres hurdles and the 4 x 400 metres relay. She represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and won an Olympic bronze medal in the 4 x 400 metres relay at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Muizat Ajoke Odumosu Nigerian athlete

Muizat Ajoke Odumosu is a Nigerian track and field athlete who specialises in the 400 metres and the 400 metres hurdles. She represented Nigeria at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics and competed at the World Championships in Athletics in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. She was the bronze medallist at the 2007 All-Africa Games and went on to become the continental champion with a win at the 2008 and 2012 African Championships.

Jack Green (hurdler) British sprint athlete (born 1991)

Jack Green is a British sprint athlete who specialises in the 400m distance, along with the hurdles and the 4 × 400 m relay. He competed for the Great Britain team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Maximilian Robertson is a male English former track and field athlete who competed in the 400 metres hurdles. He represented Great Britain at the 1988 Olympic Games and the 1992 Olympic Games. He also won a silver medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games. He won five AAA Championships titles and four UK Championship titles.

Janieve Russell Jamaican track and field athlete

Janieve Russell is a Jamaican track and field athlete who competes mainly in the 400 metres hurdles and the 400 metres sprint. Her personal bests for the events are 53.46 seconds and 51.17 seconds, respectively. At the 2014 Commonwealth Games she was the 400 m hurdles bronze medallist and a 4×400 metres relay gold medallist. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games She won the 400m hurdles in a time of 54.33 seconds.


  1. 1 2 "News -- Kriss Akabusi: The extraordinary story of a great performer".
  2. "Hire Kriss Akabusi | Speaker | Booking Agent NMP Live". Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  3. "Athlete Kriss Akabusi: Help teenagers leaving care". BBC News.
  4. "Kriss Akabusi talks of abuse". 19 January 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  5. Edmonton County School pupils Retrieved 12 August 2018
  6. "Meet Kriss Akabusi Footdown Member". Archived from the original on 14 July 2012.
  7. "Kriss Akabusi: overcoming his own hurdles - British Heart Foundation".
  8. "On Demand". Channel 4.
  9. Jim Shelley. "Jim Shelley on best and worst of Olympics ads - Jim Shelley - Mirror Online". mirror.
  10. "Theatre, dance, opera and cabaret reviews - The Stage". The Stage.
  11. "BBC One - EastEnders, Billy's Olympic Nightmare". BBC.
  12. "No. 52563". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 1991. pp. 1–28.
  13. "Kriss Akabusi on the Olympic medal that changed his life". International Olympic Committee. 5 March 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  14. "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories". The Guardian . London. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.