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.

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 ...

Aug 04 , 2021  ·  

🔥 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 ...

Jul 26 , 2021  ·  

And more 400m Hurdles times broken. Great run by Femke Bol at the Stockholm Diamond League today #400mhurdles #worldclass #recordskeepfalling ...

Jul 04 , 2021  ·  

Check this out! I believe we have Matt Elias to thank for this breakdown#400mHurdles #worldrecord #worldclass ...

Jul 03 , 2021  ·  

And this is such a truly genuine reaction #hurdles #worldrecord #athleticsweekly ...

Jun 28 , 2021  ·  

No words needed #hurdles #worldrecord ...

Jun 28 , 2021  ·  

Check out this run by Sydney McLaughlin.Her first run over the 400m Hurdles since 2019 #hurdles #worldclass ...

Jun 07 , 2021  ·  

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 ...

Apr 27 , 2021  ·  

The best of Sally Pearson in the Wanda Diamond League ...

Apr 25 , 2021  ·  

Ask The Athlete – Sally Gunnell on if she'd rather win another indivudal or team gold ...

Mar 30 , 2021  ·  

The Bruce Longden Coaching Foundation shared a video from the playlist Torun 2021 | Event Replays.
The Bruce Longden Coaching Foundation
Women's 60m hurdles final | Torun 2021 ...

Mar 13 , 2021  ·  

A very strong message, and wise words, from one of our Trustees, Sally Gunnell on International Women's Day #IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge#IWD2021 💜#ChooseToChallengeI raise my hand to challenge gender inequality and bias.When I was an elite athlete, I was told several negative things about myself and my ability, by influential individuals in my sport, that had I chosen to listen to them, I may not have achieved my 4 major track titles.Luckily for me I chose not to listen to them. The people that were important to me were positive and supportive.I say to all women, you have the power to be the best you can be. Choose to believe in yourself, choose to be positive, choose to be your best. Choose it for YOU! You got this! 💜#powerfulwomen #genderequality #womensupportingwomen #womenempowerment #womeninspiringwomen #womeninbusiness #womeninfluencers #mondaymotivation #mondayvibes #monday ...

Mar 08 , 2021  ·  

The Best of Keni Harrison - Wanda Diamond League ...

Mar 01 , 2021  ·  

The Bruce Longden Coaching Foundation shared a video from the playlist 2021 World Athletics Indoor Tour.
The Bruce Longden Coaching Foundation
Men's 60m hurdles world record | World Athletics Indoor Tour ...

Feb 25 , 2021  ·  

And more good news!Following yesterdays announcement from the Prime Minister on outdoor organised sport resuming from Monday 29th March. We are now pleased to announce our proposed dates for this years Nuneaton Open Events.While we await full conformation from England Athletics & British Athletics, You can now view our full information at our website: shorturl.at/foAOQ ...

Feb 24 , 2021  ·  

Some good news!UoB Track Series is back for 2021!Following yesterday’s announcements, we are delighted to inform you that our track and field meetings should be all clear to take place this summer. Provisional dates are as follows:• April 21st• May 12th• June 9th• July 14thStay tuned for further updates regarding timetables and entries. https://www.ubsportathletic.co.uk/uob-track-seriesUoB Track Series organising committee x ...

Feb 24 , 2021  ·  

Very wise words from Sally Pearson #trainhard #beyourself #hurdlingthroughlife #staysafe #stayhealthyandfit ...

Dec 04 , 2020  ·  

With the new Government regulations put in place yesterday, and the ever changing situation with regard to guidelines from England Athletics, we will not be holding any 300m/400m Hurdles Training days from October to December 2020. We did have dates booked, which we have now cancelled, and still have dates booked for January to March 2021, and will make a decision towards the end of the year with regard to these.Obviously we are all disappointed that we cannot go ahead with these, but the most important thing is the safety of you all, both coaches and athletes. Train when you can, in a safe environment.So please continue to stay safe and stay healthy. ...

Sep 23 , 2020  ·  

Aug 11 , 2020  ·  

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