Born on 9th of October 1955
(full name and title: Stephen Michael James Ovett, OBE)
Born: October 9, 1955
Dubbed the original bad boy of British athletics, Steve Ovett is nevertheless a firm favourite for many fans of middle distance running. Indeed, the arrival of Steve Ovett at international level heralded the beginning of the golden era of British middle distance running.
Ovett was born in Brighton, Sussex and was a prodigious talent as a teenager. At 18 he won the European Junior title at 800m. In 1974, one year later, he almost repeated the feat at senior level at the European Championships in Rome. This time, however, he had to be content with silver. Nevertheless, Ovett had established himself as a class act on the international stage. His first Olympic experience came with a fifth place in the 800m at the Montreal Olympics in 1976 in a race won by the legendary Cuban runner Alberto Juantorena.
A year later he made the world stand up and take notice when he showed an astonishing turn of speed in the last 200m of his race in the inaugural IAAF World Cup, this time leaving Olympic 1500m champion John Walker in his wake.
In 1978 he raced for the first time at senior level against another of the biggest names from the golden era of British Athletics, Sebastian Coe. The two faced each other in the final of the 800m which was widely expected to be a two horse race. It appeared to be going to the form book with Ovett getting the better of Coe until he was surprisingly caught and passed by the German athlete Olaf Beyer. Ovett made up for this disappointment by taking the gold in the 1500m.
In the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, Ovett faced Coe in both the 800m and the 1500m. Ovett was the favourite for the 1500m but surprised many by taking Coe on the home straight to win gold. Coe got his revenge taking gold in the 1500m, with Ovett having to settle for the bronze. Nevertheless, gold medals for Britain in both 800m and 1500m showed that the golden era was in full swing.
Ovett continued to be a force until an injury during training in 1981 started a period of injury and illness that his career never recovered from.
http://www.sporting-heroes.net/athletics-heroes/displayhero.asp? Sporting Heroes Profile
http://www.olympic.org/uk/athletes/profiles/bio_uk.asp?PAR_I_ID= Olympic Profile
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