The second lap of the track to discover the greatest runners of all time resumes with one of the most well-known American runners of his time. In part one we saw how Roger Bannister, Jesse Owens, and Katherine Switzer changed running history, but there are some outstanding athletes that appear below.
Steve Prefontine is one of the most popular American runners of his generation. His record of setting seven consecutive track records will perhaps never be equaled, especially considering the events ranged from two thousand to ten thousand meters. He is also widely held responsible for the upturn in interest in athletics during the 1970’s and featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he was just a teenager.
Seb Coe is a British runner who dominated Olympic middle-distance running for a decade. During the four years from 1980 he won four Olympic Gold’s and was a highly feared competitive runner. During a glittering career he set eleven records indoors and outdoors on the track. Perhaps his most prolific period was in 1979, when he won three gold medals in only 41 days. His eight hundred meter record set in 1981 lasted a lengthy sixteen years before it was eventually surpassed. He left athletics to be a politician and now is a key figure in the Olympic movement.
Flo-Jo, as she was affectionately called, brought glamour to the race track for the very fist time. As well as looking sensational, she was also the fastest woman to have ever run on the track. During the Korean Olympics of 1988, she set world records for the one and two-hundred meters that have never been broken. The tragic thing about this legendary athlete was that she died at the tender age of thirty eight when she suffered a seizure due to an epileptic fit.
Another outstanding British athlete is Linford Christie, and will probably go down as the greatest ever runner from the UK. He was the first Briton to win a gold for the one-hundred meters, and during his prolific career he won twenty-four medals, of which ten were for first place.
A list of the greatest runners of all time has to include the name Carl Lewis, who starred in no less than four Olympic Games. The way that this giant of the running track conducted himself both on and off the track endeared him to the public and fellow sportsmen. His amazing medal haul just amplifies just how good an athlete he actually was, nine Olympic Golds, eight World Championship Golds, athlete of the year in 1982 and 1984 by Track and Field News. And the final accolade was by the International Olympic Committee who voted him as Sportsman of the Century.
We fittingly close part two of our greatest runners of all time with the amazing Carl Lewis, and look forward to our concluding piece, which will feature even more great runners such as Michael Johnson, Emil Zatopek, and Paula Radcliffe.