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  • Steve Ovett

    As per Snell, anyone care to share memories of seeing Ovett run/race/whatever???

  • #2
    Re: Steve Ovett

    >As per Snell, anyone care to share memories of seeing Ovett
    >run/race/whatever???

    Mark, here's your chance !

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Steve Ovett

      Ok Steve!

      The mid-70's through mid-80's were a wonderful time for UK middle distance. Ovett was by far my favorite runner. I remember him first in Montreal when he came 5th in the 800m (I think). After that he became dominant and for a time was pretty much unbeatable. I remember watching with anticipation when he kicked in the back straight, he had great acceleration. I also remember him always waving to the crowd from about 50m out. When he unexpectedly won the 800m at Moscow I was surprised and delighted, I hadn't gone to Moscow yet and watched it in my flat alone, I was literally standing up and yelling for him to win! He was a good guy in person, one of the lads.

      I never warmed to Coe, found him pretty much a cold fish. The fact that he became a politician pretty much sums up my feelings about him. I shared a room with him in LA (although he was hardly ever there, had a house in Beverly Hills I think). I have a picture of his bed so can also confirm he was bloody untidy! Also, we went to competitive colleges and during a post-meet party (actually a pretty drunken affair from our side, we beat them by one point!) I ended up standing on a table and had a pint drinking race against Coe, think I won but it is a bit hazy now!

      Apart from Coe all our top middle, long distance runners in that period were good guys. The one I feel sorriest for is Peter Elliott, a great runner but overshadowed by Ovett, Coe and Cram. The other really good guys were Nick Rose, Mike McLeod, Steve Jones. All were salt-of-the-earth guys who didn't mind a pint or two (or ten in the case of Nick!).

      Steve's reference about Ovett, for those who haven't followed other threads (and I apologise for writing this probably the third time), is that after he lost the 1500m in Moscow he got totally drunk and threw up in my bath...one of my favorite athletic memories!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Steve Ovett

        I never saw ovett run in person (although I was hoping to in eugene, september 82), but I remember watching the 1500m world cup 77 on TV.

        Ovett accelerated with 200m to go a blew by the field (T&FN had a great write-up of the race too). It was like he had wheels no one else could match. He went on to win easily, waving to the crowd and just missing the euro record.

        John Walker stepped off the track at the steeple pit, just as Ovett had blown by -- and it seemed a "passing of the baton" so to speak.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Steve Ovett

          Many mile fans' perceptions of Ovett are through the Coe lens, since he got lots of press, there were books written about/by him. Here were the knocks against him: Ovett's waving to the crowd seemed arrogant (and submissive of the old adage to run through the tape for best time). He would avoid races and then at the last minute pressure the promoter to put him in a race of his choosing (and in his prime he had the power to do that), both Cram and Coe complained about that. Some saw his performance in L.A. as courageous; I don't know, it struck me as a guy trying to hang on when he didn't really have it, not so cool to step off the track, but probably he really did have the breathing problems; it just looked weird when Coe was perfectly peaked and effortlessly running. He bears at least half the blame for the fact he and Coe so rarely competed against each other. Yes, Coe was cold and calculating, he had his eye on his public profile and future political career, but Ovett seemed surly and sullen in comparison. Of course this is a view from the U.S. from a Coe fan! Sorry!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Steve Ovett

            Sorry, I meant "dismissive of the adage".
            Steve Scott: "Ovett mixed with the 'regular folk' but was sullen and said little."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Steve Ovett

              I saw him run in person at the 1986 Jean BOUIN
              Paris meeting.
              He ran a 3'34" 1500m, won the race thanks to his
              terrific finish. Really glad to have watched
              this authentic top-class miler run.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Steve Ovett

                Saw this after searching for Byers rabbit info. I had to bump it up after Marks classic story. I competed alot in the early eighties as a kid. We often competed at Brighton, Ovett's home track. He was often on hand encouraging young athletes. There were no press to see that side of Ovett. In fact from what I could tell he got really bad press from the media mainly since he refused interviews. But that was not the real Ovett.

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                • #9
                  Re: Steve Ovett

                  I never had the priviledge of seeing him run in person but he did great commentating for CBC at the last Olympics!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Steve Ovett

                    strange that, mojo

                    i thought he lived in australia

                    how did he end up commentating for canadian tv ?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Steve Ovett

                      >Yes, Coe was cold and calculating, he had his eye on his
                      >public profile and future political career, but Ovett seemed surly and sullen
                      >in comparison. Of course this is a view from the U.S. from a Coe fan!

                      This was my view too until I heard his international championship presentations (I have two of the sets), where he comes across as warm, humorous, and extremely knowledgeable. It these were prepared after the event, I am even more impressed by his ability to appear spontaneous.

                      Either the media got it wrong, because he always seemed to be the heavy compared to Coe, or he was both intense and shy. Perhaps he has a harder time presenting himself than he does in presenting others.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Steve Ovett

                        >Either the media got it wrong, because he always seemed
                        >to be the heavy compared to Coe, or he was both intense and shy. Perhaps he has
                        >a harder time presenting himself than he does in presenting others.

                        Read the following book, if you can get a copy. It gives you the story of the Coe/Ovett rivalry in the early eighties through the Ovett camps eyes. I don't recall, however, any mention of puking up in Marks bath tub.

                        http://tinyurl.com/4kvfg
                        Running Dialogue: A Coach's Story
                        By Harry Wilson, Angela Patmore
                        Hardcover / Hutchinson / November 1982 / 0091477409

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Steve Ovett

                          >strange that, mojo

                          i thought he lived in australia

                          how did he end up
                          >commentating for canadian tv ?

                          The fact that he has been doing coverage has been mentioned a few times. Here's one thread:

                          http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/tfn/di ... age=104171


                          Who knows how he got the gig but he was very good. He was so enthusiastic, you would think he was a Canuck.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Steve Ovett

                            A great story came out a few years ago. It seems Ovett's daughter, a grade 2 or 3 student, came home excited. She said they were discussing Olympic athletes and one famous guy had the same name as her father. She had no idea it was her father.

                            In the Byers race, I remember that the pack was being read Byers splits. Thinking the splits were their own, they ignored Byers knowing that he couldn't continue on such a suicidal pace.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Steve Ovett

                              >Who knows how he got the gig but he was very
                              >good. He was so enthusiastic, you would think he was a Canuck.

                              His greatest enthusiasm seemed to be for British Colonial Commonwealth nations or similar historic ties.

                              Comment

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