“Coe v Ovett” – it was a phrase that defined the golden era of British in his book All-time Greats of British Athletics quotes Ovett as saying: â€œI was .. It shows how relations were between Cram and Coe at that time when. David Miller pays tribute to the remarkable influence of Peter Coe, who was unexpectedly beaten by Steve Ovett, I left together with father and son for Indeed, it was proof of the success of their relationship that the son did. Jurgen Straub, Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett on the m podium at the Olympics. More information Mid/Long Distance, XC elite runners, quotes.
Now, look at me! I'm feeling all blue and not posting very often. I really do need to shake it off. I am probably going to try running again in another week or so.
Keep your fingers crossed for me that the mysterious knee issue will be gone. Onto the post at hand This is a something I have been writing off-and-on for quite some time.
You can check it out here. This post is dedicated to Jim White because he is a track nerd: In Christianity, there is the Holy Trinity. In early 's British middle distance running, there was Ovett, Coe and Cram. To a kid, they were magical.
I had no knowledge of running—no context for what I was watching. All I knew was that when major athletics were on the TV, it was these three men who were dominant and I was hooked like the rest of the country. It was the first time that athletics had been elevated to the rockstar status of soccer.
How thrilling it was to see these men bring home major medals.
Coe has another finishing line in sight | Reuters
It was an amazing amount of middle distance running talent for such a focused period of time and a small geographical area. I didn't want this post to be just a regurgitation of pure facts. I actually wanted to learn something, so I thought a fun way to approach it would be to see if the myths about them that I believed when I was a kid held true or not. This is what I believed back then: They emerged magically at the same time They were from different social classes and had very different temperaments They were very different runners They all raced the same distance Ovett and Coe disliked each other but they both liked Cram Any one of them could have won Steve Ovett, Steve Cram and Sebastian Coe First, let's just get a basic reminder of who they are: He was a naturally talented runner who loved to run any sort of race.
His family recognized his potential early-on and committed to supporting his running career. He hit the senior running scene big time in and was dominant through the rest of the 70's and early 80's. In 84, he started to have fitness issues and his career wound down until he retired in ' When he retired, he did sportscaster work and ended up moving to Australia, a place he had trained during British winters. The following clip shows Ovett's incredible kick that obliterates a World class field.
He was a frail boy who came from a good home. His father became his running coach. His first big break came with a win in '77 and he was dominant from the end of the '70's well into the mid '80's. He started to have fitness issues around '88, even though he was still capable of strong runs. After recurring chest infections, he retired in Seb was the same over-achiever in retirement as he was on the track. He became a member of Parliament for the Conservative Party.
He won further admiration from the British public for leading the bid to bring the Olympics to London. He is still a worldwide ambassador for Nike and owns a chain of health clubs. His nickname was "The Jarrow Arrow. That region of Britain was very depressed at the time. When he started making money from running aroundhe was paying his parent's mortgage. He studied Sports in University. He was only 17 when he first appeared at a Commonwealth Games.
He was dominant in the early '80's but started to fade in the late '80's even though he had some strong runs into the early '90's. He retired in After retirement, he became a very well respected sportscaster for the BBC.
Steve is an ambassador for the London Olympics. The following clip shows Steve taking the Gold in the '83 World Championships. He was not always the strongest kicker but this is a fine finish against a really talented field.
So, after a little research, what did I learn that expanded or changed my perspective? They emerged magically at the same time.
There is no doubt that having three World class runners coming out of a small country like England during the same period of time is amazing. No wonder that it seemed magical to me and to the rest of the country. In reality, it wasn't quite as synchronous as it seemed. For anyone who was following running and not just major televised races like methey would have seen the progression.
Ovett was really making a name for himself on the senior circuit as a teenager in the mid 70's whereas Coe's running matured a little later. The younger Cram came onto the big stage around ' There was definitely a window of time when they were all gold contenders but due to injury, their peek periods weren't exactly well aligned.
I created a timeline to explore it. More on that later. They were from different social classes and were very different men I believed that Ovett was a tough, cocky, working class lad who had a bit of an anti-establishment attitude. I believed that Coe was an upper class gentleman who was calm and quiet. I believed that Cram was a happy-go-lucky working class kid from the North. After a little research, I don't pretend to know these men in great detail but I do feel like I got a more realistic impression of them.
I think I got a much better sense of Ovett which wasn't limited by the British press' opinion of who he was. Ovett really wasn't the street fighter type that he was made out to be. His family didn't have much money but he came from a good home and went to grammar school.
Peter Coe: the father who kept Seb on track - Telegraph
He had been cocky and intense from his teenage running years and was certainly an aggressive runner. He was exceptionally confident and was known to throw up his hands in victory as early as the final turn. The fact that he shunned the press made them focus on his "bad boy" shenanigans and contrast it with Coe's exemplary behavior. Some suggest that Ovett's passion to race other people was so intense that his exuberant behavior was uncontrolled and unfairly judged as borderline impetuous.
One thing is for sure, off the track Ovett was a very respectful and gracious sportsman. The one good thing about his reputation was that it made him more relatable to the general public. He was a bit of a people's champion. Coe in contrast was calm, polite and politically correct.
He was the ideal athletic role model. He wasn't really upper class but he did have the mannerisms of public schoolboy runners of years past. He was intense but in a more brooding and reflective sort of way. He was incredibly disciplined and focused. He was a warmer person and made time for the press which turned him into a media darling. His words were humble but at times, he seemed a little too self focused. I suspect he thought of his body as an instrument—something to work on and perfect.
Cram is nowhere near as documented as the other two. It's harder to get a feel for him other than his likable personality that shines through in sportscasting.
Coe has another finishing line in sight
It must have been hard coming up underneath two giants of running. He seemed almost too nice at times. He was the good natured working class boy from next door.
He always had a smile and a good word for people. He was often referred to as "Stevie" which reflects the affection that people had for him. He was incredibly humble and it felt very honest and heartfelt coming from him. They were very different runners At the time, I knew nothing about running but I had a sense of them not running the same way. I think I thought that their running somehow reflected their personalities. In a way, it did. Ovett was a stalker which is why he did not focus on record breaking earlier in his career.
He liked races that were slower and more tactical. He could physically fight to maneuver himself and then hang-back in the perfect stalking position ready to kick. His m kick could be devastating. What I didn't realize before spending more time watching him run was how smooth and relaxed he looked in mid flow.
He is one of those runners with a short torso and long legs. Coe was a very disciplined runner. His training with his father was precise and grueling. On races that were slower and more technical he could get himself into trouble.
He favored going out very early and breaking down the competition with punishing sustained pace. The amazing thing about him was that when he did this, he inexplicably had gas left in the tank for a final kick.
Maybe I am biased but when I see Coe run, he looks like he is floating smoothly along—it's a beautiful and effortless. I'm not an expert on running form but I love to watch him.
Cram was said to have great form. Apparently, the knee lift and turnover was excellent. To my eye, he seemed a little long and gangly. He ran on the balls of his feet and his feet were slightly turned out. To me, it was like watching a young puppy who hadn't quite grown into his body. Don't get me wrong, he looked amazing, especially from the side—just not quite like Coe in my opinion. Cram didn't have the finish that Ovett and Coe had, so his preferred technique was to wind up the pace gradually to the finish and hope that he had run the kick out of his opponents.
They all ran the same distance As a child, you don't really focus on the distance—not unless you are really interested in running. As a TV spectator with no knowledge, it's all the same thing.
Olympic hero Steve Ovett says he has found love again after shattering marriage split
Just men running around a track until they are done. All three men ran various distances. The m and the m happen to be the premier distances for major events. Ovett took a Bronze in the m and a Gold in the m. Steve Cram was more focused on the m.Ovett, Coe, Cram & Thompson - BBC Sports Awards 1984
Peter Coe David Miller pays tribute to the remarkable influence of Peter Coe, who died this weekend At the moment of their darkest despair, Peter Coe and his son Sebastian remained bonded by a mutual affection which few fathers and sons have the privilege to experience. Following the debacle of the metres Olympic final in the Moscow Games in which Coe, the overwhelming favourite, was unexpectedly beaten by Steve Ovett, I left together with father and son for the village from a darkened adjacent training ground in a taxi.
In the Russian driver's misadjusted mirror, I could see Peter in the back seat with his arm around Sebastian, the same way you comfort your infant child when it comes to your bed in the middle of the night, troubled by a bad dream. There was only shared grief and love. Theirs was a truly exceptional partnership - an athlete of rare talent and a father, who from a starting point of initial ignorance became a self-taught coach who revolutionised the approach to middle-distance running over the metric mile and half-mile.
It was a union that defied both the accepted theories of coaching and the fragility of parent-child stress when further subjected to the demands and expectations of competitive sporting performance. He could be a bit brutal, certainly, but he was right so often - having more faith in me than sometimes I had in myself. Throughout their odyssey - their inquisitive search for the optimum which did not end when Sebastian's athletics career finished in - they remained forever close.
Indeed, it was proof of the success of their relationship that the son did not feel the need to escape from the father at home. It was that cadence for which Peter had been striving throughout the 12 years of coaching and thousands of hours of training. It had been a slowly developing saga for an originally undersized schoolboy.
Profoundly influenced by his own survival of the Second World War - captured by the Germans, he was on the point of being transferred to a prisoner-of-war camp when he escaped by leaping off a train - Peter was driven by the desire to excel.
Indeed, within the school circuit in Yorkshire - the family having moved to Sheffield from London because of Peter's work as a design engineer at a famous cutlery manufacturer - the verdict on Peter's intuitive training regime for Sebastian was, "He'll kill the boy".
It had certainly required both diligent analysis and care by Peter to nurse a gangling, small boy through school competition, never mind the precocious success that embarrassed Sebastian's mother Angela, who often wished he might occasionally lose.
The pursuit of excellence never troubled Sebastian, however, conscious of his father's precise nature. Running is to a great extent theoretical, but it's also an art. When I came into the sport, I sensed that no coach really knew for sure about things. Seb's training was tailor-made for him. Yet Peter could be furious with Sebastian as when, in Peter's absence, he had chased a bus when running in Sheffield and ended up stiff and out of action for a week.