The early 1980’s were a golden time (pun intended) for UK athletics with many great athletes hailing from good old blighty winning gold medals at the Olympics and other sporting events. Â One of the greatest was Daley Thompson, or Francis Morgan OyodÃ©lÃ© Thompson CBE to give him his full name and title.
Daley Thompson was born in London on 30th July 1958. Â He represented the UK in the Decathlon, which consists of ten events – 100m, 400m and 1500m races, 110m hurdles, high jump, long jump, pole vault, discus, javelin and shot put. Â As you can imagine in order to do well in the Decathlon you need to be incredibly dedicated as there’s an awful lot of training to do!
He was always instantly recognisable with his trademark moustache and wide grin, although his sense of humour sometimes got him into trouble when he made somewhat inappropriate remarks at times, such as asking Princess Anne if she would have his babies or wearing a T-Shirt with the slogan “Is the worlds second greatest athlete gay?“, an attack at one of his rival competitors. Â He also famously whistled the national anthem whilst stood on the Olympic podium.
Daley’s winning streak started in 1978 when he won his first Commonwealth Decathlon title. Â In 1980 Thompson first attained the Decathlon world record at GÃ¶tzis, Austria, with a total score of 8648 points, and also won gold at the Moscow Olympics. Â In 1982 he broke the record again atÂ GÃ¶tzis, raising it to 8730 points and then again at the European Championships that year, bringing the total to 8774 points. Â He also got his second Commonwealth title in this year.
In 1983 he won again at the first World Championships making him the first to claim all three big titles at once. Â 1984 saw the California Olympics where Thompson won gold once more, making him the first Decathlete to have defended the Olympic title successfully. Â He also pushed the World record out once more with this win to 8847 points, which would remain the record until US athlete Dan O’Brien broke it with a score of 8891 in 1992.
He has also leant his name to many products during his career, most notably doing adverts for Lucozade and having no less than three licensed computer games featuring him. Â The first and most famous of these is Daley Thompson’s Decathlon, published by now defunct software house Ocean.
This game single handedly destroyed so many keyboards and joysticks, not to mention generating a fair number of chafed hands, blistered thumbs and sore fingers for the players thanks to the game play requiring repeated and fast joystick waggling. Â Everyone dreaded the 1500m race at the end of the game – several minutes of intense key bashing or wiggling of stick causing aching arms and tendonitis, but at least we all learnt that 45 degrees was the optimum angle for furthest distance when doing long jump or throwing the discus!
Most recently Daley Thompson has been involved in a promotion with NestlÃ© encouraging kids to exercise more, which would be a good thing if it didn’t involve collecting labels from sugary breakfast cereals and packets of sweets…