Daley Thompson

Daley Thompson
Daley Thompson

Daley Thompson at the 2007 Laureus Day
Personal information
Nationality British
Born 30 July 1958 (1958-07-30) (age 53)
Notting Hill, London, United Kingdom
Sport Decathlon
Club Essex Beagles
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) Decathlon 8,847 points

Francis Morgan Ayodélé "Daley" Thompson CBE (born 30 July 1958),[1] is a former decathlete from England. He won the decathlon gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984, and broke the world record for the event four times.

With four world records, two Olympic gold medals, three Commonwealth titles, and wins in the World and European Championships, Thompson is considered by many to be the greatest decathlete of all time. Robert Chalmers described him as "the greatest all-round athlete this country [Great Britain] has ever produced."[2]



Thompson was born in Notting Hill, London, the second son of a Nigerian father and Scottish mother. His father was taxi driver who was shot dead in Streatham when Thompson was about twelve. At seven years old Thompson was sent on a Farley Close boarding school, Bolney, Sussex, which he described as "a place for troubled children". Thompson's name is a contraction of Ayodele, an African word meaning "joy comes home". Thompson's first ambition was to become a professional footballer, but he later switched his interests to athletics.[2]


Early Career

Initially, he was a member of Haywards Heath Harriers, but when he returned to London in 1975 he joined the Essex Beagles club, training as a sprinter. He began to be coached by Bob Mortimer, who suggested he try for decathlon. He competed in his first decathlon later that year in Cwmbran, Wales, which he won along with his next competition. In 1976 he won the AAA title and was 18th at the Montréal Olympic Games. The following year, he won the European Junior title and in 1978 came the first of his three Commonwealth titles. In 1979, he failed to finish in his only decathlon of that year, but won the long jump at the UK Championships.

1982-1986-breaking records

Thompson opened the 1980 Olympic season with a world decathlon record of 8,648 points at Götzis, Austria, in May, and followed this with a comfortable win at the Moscow Olympics. After a quiet 1981 season, he was in devastating form in 1982; back at Götzis in May, he raised the world record to 8,730 points and then in September, at the European Championships in Athens, he took the record up to 8,774 points. The following month in Brisbane, Thompson took his second Commonwealth title. In 1983, Daley won the inaugural World Championships and became the first decathlete to hold the European, World and Olympic titles simultaneously. He spent much of the summer of 1984 in California preparing for the defence of his Olympic title, with Jürgen Hingsen, the West German who had suceeded Thompson as the world record holder, expected to be a major threat. Thompson took the lead in the first event and was never headed throughout the competition, although it seemed that, by easing off in the 1,500 metres he had missed tying the world record by just one point. When the photo-finish pictures were examined, however, it was found that Thompson should have been credited with one more point in the 110 metres hurdles so he had in fact, equalled Hingsen’s record. Then when the new scoring tables were introduced, Thompson became the sole record holder once more with a recalculated score of 8,847 points – a world record that stood until 1992, when it was surpassed by the American athlete Dan O'Brien with a score of 8891. His two victories in the decathlon are a feat shared only with the American Bob Mathias. Thompson's 1984 performance is still the UK record.

1987-1990-defeat and injury

After his Olympic success, Thompson won his third Commonwealth title in 1986 but after that he never quite recaptured the superlative form of earlier years. In 1987 he suffered his first decathlon defeat for nine years when he finished ninth in the World Championships, and at his third Olympics in Seoul in 1988 he finished fourth. He made the Commonwealth Games team for the fourth time in 1990, but was forced to withdraw because of injury

After athletics

Thompson was forced to retire from athletics in 1992, due to a persistent hamstring injury. In the 1990s he played professional football for Mansfield Town and Stevenage Borough F.C., and then worked as fitness coach for Wimbledon F.C. and Luton Town football clubs.[3] He also took part in motorsport, entering the Ford Credit Fiesta Challenge Championship in 1994.[4]

Thompson worked as a fitness trainer and motivational speaker, as well as appearing at corporate events. He was also well known for his appearances in commercials for the drink Lucozade in the 1980s. Thompson's name was used for three officially licensed home computer games by Ocean Software in the 1980s: Daley Thompson's Decathlon, Daley Thompson's Supertest, and Daley Thompson's Olympic Challenge.

Thompson is an ambassador for the London 2012 Olympics, focusing during the bid stage on highlighting the benefits that hosting the Olympics would bring to education and sport in schools.[5] He also took part in the 2011 TV series Jamie's Dream School.[6]

Rivalry with Jürgen Hingsen

Thompson's rivalry with West German athlete Jürgen Hingsen was legendary in the sport throughout the 1980s. The pair consistently traded world records, but Thompson always had the upper hand in the major events, remaining undefeated in all competitions for nine years between 1979 and 1987.

Public Persona

Thompson was a natural showman who endeared himself to the British public with his irreverent personality, notably when he whistled the British national anthem God Save the Queen with studied insouciance after receiving his gold medal in 1984. Afterwards, he famously sent a message to friends back home via a TV interview, showing his medal and saying "I've got the Big G, boys - the Big G!" Sometimes Thompson's behaviour caused offence, not least when he refused to carry the English flag at the opening ceremony of the 1982 Commonwealth Games, claiming that the effort required participating in the four-and-a-half hour ceremony would reduce his chances of winning his event. He won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award the same year. Making his acceptance speech during the live broadcast of the programme Thompson uttered an obscenity, which caused media comment. Despite this, he was awarded the MBE in 1982, the OBE in 1986, and the CBE in 2000.

Personal life

Thompson has two children with partner Lisa, and three with ex-wife Trish.[3]


External links

Preceded by
United States Bruce Jenner
Men's decathlon world record holder
15 May 1980 – 14 June 1980
Succeeded by
West Germany Guido Kratschmer
Preceded by
West Germany Guido Kratschmer
Men's decathlon world record holder
23 May 1982 – 15 August 1982
Succeeded by
West Germany Jürgen Hingsen
Preceded by
West Germany Jürgen Hingsen
Men's decathlon world record holder
8 September 1982 – 6 June 1983
Succeeded by
West Germany Jürgen Hingsen
Preceded by
West Germany Jürgen Hingsen
Men's decathlon world record holder
9 August 1984 – 5 September 1992
Succeeded by
United States Dan O'Brien
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
England Ian Botham
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
England Steve Cram
Preceded by
United Kingdom Sebastian Coe
United Press International
Athlete of the Year

Succeeded by
United States Carl Lewis

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Daley Thompson — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Medallero Atletismo Hombres Juegos Olímpicos …   Wikipedia Español

  • Daley Thompson — Medaillenspiegel Daley Thompson 2007 Leichtathletik Vereinigtes Königreich Olympische Spiele Gold …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Daley Thompson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Thompson. Daley Thompson …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Daley Thompson — n. Francis Morgan Daley Thompson (born 1958), British decathlon athlete …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Daley Thompson — ➡ Thompson (I) * * * …   Universalium

  • Daley Thompson's Decathlon — Developer(s) Ocean Software Publisher(s) …   Wikipedia

  • Francis Morgan Daley Thompson — n. Daley Thompson (born 1958), British decathlon athlete …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Daley — Daley, originally an Irish family name derived from the Gaelic Ó Dálaigh, as a surname, may refer to: Arthur Daley, fictional character in the British TV series Minder Brian Daley (1947 1996), American science fiction novelist Bud Daley (1932 ),… …   Wikipedia

  • Thompson (surname) — Thompson is an English patronymic surname with a variety of spellings meaning son of Tom (or Thomas) . According to the 1990 United States Census, Thompson was the seventeenth most frequently reported surname, accounting for 0.27% of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Thompson (Familienname) — Thompson ist ein englischer Familienname. Herkunft und Bedeutung Der Name Thompson bedeutet „Sohn des Tom“ (Kurzform von Thomas) und ist damit ein Patronym. Varianten englisch: Thomson dänisch, friesisch, niederdeutsch: Thomsen Bekannte… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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