City Olympian warms-up for University visit

COVENTRY BORN Olympic record-breaker and Commonwealth Champion, David Moorcroft OBE will be the guest speaker at the media lecture series, Coventry Conversations on Thursday, 22nd January.

PROFILE: DAVID MOORCROFT OBE: Moorcroft has been involved with the track and field for the vast majority of his sporting and working life, with his decision to study Physical Education and Sports Science at Loughborough University giving a glimpse of what was to follow.

His senior debut for the Great Britain athletics team came in 1973 with his first Olympic Games following three years in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  It wasn’t long until Moorcroft achieved his first major success, winning a gold medal at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in the 1,500m.

In 1982, Moorcroft showed Europe and the world the true extent of his athletic pedigree by winning numerous events and setting new records along the way, too.  At the Bislett Games is Oslo, Russia, Moorcroft set a new world record for the 5,000m, beating the previous time by 5.79 seconds with a time of 13:00.41.

That time stood for three years only to be broken by Moroccan, Said Aouita who would emerge as the dominant force throughout the 1980s at all distances between 800m and 5,000m.  Moorcroft did, however, become the last non-African to set the 5,000m world record.

Later that year, Moorcroft won a gold medal at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in the 5,000m, and at the same meeting, he broke the European and British record in the 3,000m event with a time of 7:32.79.

David MoorcroftDespite the increasing levels of funding being poured into UK athletics, Moorcroft’s 5,000m and 3,000m times have never been bettered by any British Olympian to date.

His status as an Olympian ended after competing in his third and final Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California, America in 1984.  He remained in the British team into the late 80s, but before retiring he achieved another remarkable feat, completing a mile in Belfast in a mere 4minutes 2.53seconds.  It remains a world master’s record for a runner over 40-years-of-age.

Moorcroft’s passion for a sport in which he has experienced much success saw him undertake a long and distinguished career in broadcast journalism with the BBC’s TV and radio services for 14 years (1983 – 1997).  And during last summer’s Beijing Olympics – the most successful for Team GB to date – Moorcroft provided track and field analysis for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

In 1997, Moorcroft was appointed Chief Executive of the British Athletic Federation which later became UK Athletics due to insolvency reasons.  He brought to it financial stability and prosperity, securing £18m per annum through a combination of sponsorship, broadcasting and public funds and £50m of investment from Norwich Union to put into athletics at all levels up to 2012.

He announced his intention to resign in August 2006 and vacated his position in January 2007, before being replaced by Niels De Vos.  Moorcroft made it clear that “the time was right for someone new to make their mark” on a sport he described as “wonderful”’.  He also wanted to give his successor ample time to prepare for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

At the time, Moorcroft said: “I am convinced that I am taking the right decision at the right time. Athletics now has the system, funding, facilities and most importantly the people in place to take the sport into the next phase of its development.”

He added: “I have been Chief Executive for nine challenging and rewarding years and I have decided it is the right time to let someone new take the helm and lead the sport through to 2012.”

Moorcroft has also been very active in developing the Coventry Sports Foundation of which he is currently a Trustee.  The charity sets-out to help ‘under-represented and disadvantaged community groups and individuals in Coventry’ and has so far achieved this mission statement by attracting £20m of capital and £8m of revenue funding for worthy causes.

John Mair, organiser of the Coventry Conversations said: “Dave was a childhood hero of mine. His stunning 1982 season on the track is firmly implanted in my memory.  I am deeply honoured that he has chosen to come and do a Coventry Conversation in his home city.”

  • David Moorcroft will be in conversation at 1pm in the Ellen Terry building, room ETG 34.
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