Athletics is hot news again, and all thanks to one man, Usain Bolt. But hang on, is that fair? No man is an island. Who is the man behind Usain Bolt? Who is the man with the stopwatch, the notepad, the carefully prepared training schedule, the diary of events, the diet plans? Usain Bolt did not become the World’s fastest man simply by donning a pair of Puma’s and going for a run. Someone has been pushing him. He needs some credit, as do all the other top trainers.
Unlike the athletes, who come and go in relatively short periods of glory and fame, coaches are working hard behind the scenes for years, sometimes decades, researching new methods, studying past performances, to try to get the best out of their athletes. In 10 years time Usain Bolt may be sitting in a hammock in Jamaica, telling his children about how he became the World’s fastest man. His coach may be training new talent, that is breaking new World records, and still nobody will know his name. It is time to put these people into the spotlight, and let the World know where the talent really lies!
The Worlds Most Important Athletics Coaches
- George Gandy. This is the man the introduced a young Sebastian Coe to new training methods in the 1970’s, which lead to him becoming that fastest man on Earth over 800m, a record that he held for 16 years. Coe went to Loughborough University to study Economics and Social History, and here he met George Gandy, who is still working there today, raising new British talent. Coe won gold in he 1500m in the Moscow Olympics in 1980 and also in the Low Angeles Olympics in 1984, and is still the only male runner to win the Olympic 1,500m twice. Today George Gandy is training Lisa Dobriskey, another talented 1500m runner.
- Bob Bowman is the man holding the notepad and watch while the human dolphin skims through the water. Yep, he coached Michael Phelps. He started his coaching career in 1986 with Area Tallahassee Aquatic Club while also being assistant at Florida State University, and then more recently the University of Michigan. A dedicated swimming coach with 23 years of experience, who finally has a World champion.
- Glen Mills. A few years ago Glen Mills was a complete unknown. Today, he is more commonly known as the coach who created the fastest man on Earth. Yes, he is Usain Bolt’s coach. Glen Mills is head coach of the Jamaican Olympics athletics team. In the past he has successfully coached Kim Collins, Dwain Chambers and Ray Stewart.
- Fred Stoner. Stoner is a black American that worked in a local community center Louisville, Kentucky, USA. As far as we know, he only ever trained one man that went on to become a World champion, but that man was Muhammad Ali.
- Dukla Praha. Not a man, but a football team. Not any football team, but the Prague team that also coaches athletics, and helped Roman Šebrle and Tomáš Dvořák to become World champions in the Decathlon. These two Czech guys dominated the decathlon for almost a decade, and they still hold the highest two scores ever recorded – Roman Šebrle 9026 points, Tomáš Dvořák 8994 points.
- Sławomir Nowak. For 11 years Sławomir Nowak has been coaching Wilson Kipketer, who dominated the 800m distance for a decade, remained undefeated for a three-year period and running 8 of the 11 currently all-time fastest times, and he beat Seb Coe’s record for the 800m in 1997.
- John Wooden. John Wooden, the now retired American basketball coach, spent his life, and a long one at that, teaching, mentoring and improving lives. Wooden won 10 national championships at UCLA, winning more than 80 percent of his games over 27 seasons. He was known as the Wizard of Westwood. Wooden turned down offers to coach the L.A. Lakers that may have been ten times what UCLA was paying him. He was dedicated to teaching college kids, and ensuring that fresh talent was found and nurtured. That makes him a great coach.