England Athletics Tribute

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A Tribute to Bruce Longden
from England Athletics

England Athletics was greatly saddened by the death of Bruce Longden at the age of 72. Bruce was coach to Sally Gunnell and Daley Thompson, among many others, and his outstanding contribution to our sport was recognised when he was inducted into our Hall of Fame last year. The sport of athletics is the poorer for his passing.

Bruce’s record as a coach speaks for itself. To coach one athlete to an Olympic title and world record is a monumental achievement, but in Bruce’s case he guided two of Britain’s greatest ever athletes to the ultimate distinction in the sport.

A graduate of Loughborough College (now Loughborough University), he was at first a teacher before spending four years as Deputy Director and Recreation Director at the International School in Geneva. He returned to Britain in 1973 to become Recreation Director at Crawley College of Technology.

It was in 1976, a year before being appointed a BAAB National Coach, that he began coaching a precocious all-rounder by the name of Daley Thompson. That year Thompson improved his UK junior decathlon record from 6941 to an astonishing 7748. He made the Olympic team and in Montreal, where he celebrated his 18th birthday, he impressed the American winner and world record breaker Bruce Jenner to such an extent that he nominated Daley as his likely successor. He proved to be correct.
Over those next four years Thompson gradually approached, and then surpassed, Jenner’s score of 8634. In 1977 he set world junior records of 8056 and 8082; in 1978, a few days after his 20th birthday, he scored 8470 (but with a long jump over the permitted wind limit) to lift the Commonwealth title; and in 1980 he set his first world record of 8648 prior to becoming Olympic champion in Moscow. Over a six year period he achieved a momentous decathlon win streak of 12, winning Commonwealth and European titles in 1982, becoming inaugural world champion in 1983, defending his Olympic laurels in 1984 (with a world record 8847) and retaining the Commonwealth and European championships in 1986.

Bruce continued as a BAAB National Coach, as well as being Chief Coach to England teams, until 1984 when he accepted a four-year appointment as Head Coach for the Norwegian Athletic Federation. Meanwhile, he was coaching another athlete who would hit the heights in Sally Gunnell. Initially an English Schools long jump champion, she too developed her all-round ability to set British age-16 and 17 heptathlon bests.

Thereafter she concentrated on the 100m hurdles, to such good effect that in 1986 she won the Commonwealth title. However, although she would eventually succeed Shirley Strong as British record holder with 12.82 Bruce realised Sally would never be a world beater at that event and encouraged her to try the 400m hurdles. In her first serious season, 1988, she set a UK record of 54.03 for fifth in the Olympics and by 1992 she was ready to take on the world, capturing the Olympic title in 53.23, and the following year she won the world title in a world record 52.74.

Bruce had returned to Britain to serve as a BAF National Coach, his specialist areas being the combined events, hurdles and jumps, and he and his wife Julie – herself a coach – divided their time between France and South Africa.

EA/BLCF SPRINT HURDLES WORKSHOPSWe are delighted to announce that the Sprint Hurdles Workshops introduced last winter, will be taking place again this winter. Please save these dates:Saturday 29 OctoberSaturday 26 NovemberSaturday 17 DecemberThe Workshops will be available at both Chelmsford and Sutton, as in 2021. The lead coaches will also be the same Julie Pratt-Benterman, at Chelmsford, and Lorna Booth at Sutton.As soon as booking details are available, we will post these links on the group.#BLCF#EnglandAthletics#hurdlesdevelopment ...
SAVE THE DATESWe are delighted to announce the provisional dates for the BLCF 300m/400m Hurdles Training Days for this winter. These will be at Lee Valley. Please get the following dates into your diaries, and look out for further information with regard to booking your place.Sunday 23 October 2022Sunday 13 November 2022Saturday 3 December 2022Sunday 26 February 2023Sunday 19 March 2023Saturday 25 March 2023#BLCF#hurdlesdevelopment#thefutureofhurdling ...
No other words needed, other than amazing!👑 ...
Scintillating, sensational....Sydney McLaughlin everybody! 🤯🤯🤯She just broke her own world 400m hurdles record at the US Champs! 51.41! Can’t wait to see what she can do on the same track at the #worldathleticschamps #USATFOutdoors #nationalchamps #400mhurdles #worldrecord ...
The art of hurdling 🖼#WorldIndoorChamps ...
🔥 It's a very busy weekend at Lee Valley, today see's the BLCF/Lee Valley Sprint Hurdles Open Meeting, so good luck to all those athletes taking part. We hope you are able to run well, and reduce those PBs if you can!Tomorrow, Sunday 20 February, sees the next of our BLCF 300/400m Hurdles Training Days, from 10h30 until 14h00. Thanks to Brian Hopkins, Julie-Pratt Benterman, Dave Rice and Eric Brees, who will all be there assisting the athletes, and of course their own personal coaches.Lastly, please everyone travel safe, as the weather has been terrible over the last few days. #BLCF #LeeValleyAthleticsCentre #hurdles ...
🔥Don't forget the first of the BLCF 300m/400m Hurdles Training Day at Lee Valley on Sunday, 14 November.Brian Hopkins will be joined by Lawrence Lynch for this one. Don't miss out on learning from an athlete who has represented England and Great Britain, in the 400m Hurdles, at numerous Championships during his career.If you want to secure your place for all the Sunday sessions (14 November, 12 December, 20 February, 6 March and 3 April) just call Lee Valley Athletics Centre on 020 8344 7230, and they will assist you. 🔥 ...
🔥 BLCF 300m/400m Hurdle Workshops 🔥Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, the first workshop at Lee Valley on 10 October, has been cancelled. The good news is that we have dates for 5 more!14 November 202112 December 202120 February 20226 March 20223 April 2022All are on Sundays, and the times will be 10:30 until 14:00. As soon as we have the booking link from Lee Valley, we will post this so that you can guarantee your place.Thanks to everyone for their patience and we look forward to seeing you all again at the Workshops.#BLCF #hurdles #LeeValley ...
Timeline photos🧐 I attributed as much as 70% of my ability to win my Olympic gold medal to my mental strength. 🏃‍♀️ Today was the women’s 400m hurdle final.As you can imagine, this brought back alot of memories for me.Warming up out on the track I knew I had done everything I could to be ready to race.In this picture I am going through the race in my head. Something I had probably done thousands of times already, in the lead up to this very moment. It is so important to look after your mental strength as well as your physical! Something that has been highlighted in this Olympic games by the likes of Adam Peaty MBE and Simone Biles I say ‘Long may it continue’#Wellbeingwednesday #WCW #Optimiseyourage #wednesdaywords #Wednesdaywisdom #TokyoOlympics #Mentalstrength #wellbeing #mentalwellbeing ...
🔥 SAVE THE DATES 🔥BLCF is delighted to announce the return of the 300m/400m Hurdles workshops at Lee Valley, after a winter's absence due to Covid-19, later this year. Get these dates into your diaries now:Sunday 10 OctoberSunday 14 NovemberSunday 12 DecemberFurther information, including times, costs and how to book, will be available as soon as possible.2022 dates are under discussion, but cannot be confirmed until the indoor fixture dates are known.#hurdles #development #BLCF #leevalley ...
And more 400m Hurdles times broken. Great run by Femke Bol at the Stockholm Diamond League today #400mhurdles #worldclass #recordskeepfalling ...
Check this out! I believe we have Matt Elias to thank for this breakdown#400mHurdles #worldrecord #worldclass ...
And this is such a truly genuine reaction #hurdles #worldrecord #athleticsweekly ...
No words needed #hurdles #worldrecord ...
Check out this run by Sydney McLaughlin.Her first run over the 400m Hurdles since 2019 #hurdles #worldclass ...
BLCF is absolutely delighted to add it's name to all the Hurdles events at the Chelmsford Open Meetings listed in the information below. Entries open Monday 3 May. #hurdles #competition #performance #chelmsford #BLCF ...
The best of Sally Pearson in the Wanda Diamond League ...

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