Brian Whittle

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Competition record
Men’s Athletics
Competitor for  United Kingdom
European Championships
Gold 1986 European Championships Stuttgart 4x400m relay
Gold 1994 European Championships Helsinki 4x400m relay

Brian Whittle (born 26 April 1964)[1] is a British athlete who won the gold medal in the 4 x 400 metres relay at both the 1986 European Championships in Athletics and 1994 European Championships in Athletics. He also competed at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. He is famed for running the third leg of the 1986 European Championships in Athletics final with one shoe.

Early life[edit]

Brian was born in 1964 growing up in the Scottish town of Troon. His father was a sprinter and ran until his late teens but other than that his family background was not overly sporty. As a boy, Brian tried a wide range of sports, enjoying many of them. He has maintained that his talent lay in his ability to train.

Senior career[edit]

At club level Whittle ran for both Ayr Seaforth and Enfield & Haringey. His best performance in the 400m was 45.22 at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.[2] He finished 1st in his heat, 3rd in the quarter final but did not progress past the semi-final. He ran 45.5 on the first leg of the 4x400m relay (team - Whittle, Kriss Akabusi, Todd Bennett, Phil Brown) but for once the GB team performed below par and finished 5th in the Olympic final. Perhaps his greatest achievement, and what he is best remembered for, is the manner he which he helped Great Britain win the Gold medal in the 4 x 400m relay at the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart. He ran the third leg of the race with one shoe running a personal best leg time of 45.09s. As he took the baton from Kriss Akabusi, Akabusi stood on his shoe and it ripped off, leaving him to run the race without it. The other members of the team were Roger Black and Derek Redmond, all of whom ran Personal Best times on the day.

Whittle also won a relay gold medal in the 1994 Helsinki European Championship 4x400 metres relay team alongside David McKenzie, Roger Black and Du'aine Ladejo. He also ran in the heats of the 4x400m relay at the 1990 European Championships in Split.

He moved to 800m after the 1988 Olympic Games and ran in the final of the 1990 Commonwealth Games 800m in New Zealand, where he finished 4th ahead of Sebastian Coe and Tom McKean. Whittle ran the last leg of the Commonwealth Games 4x400m in 1990 anchoring the Scottish Team to a silver medal. He ran 44.7 seconds for his leg. He also ran the 800m in the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo. His personal best for 800m was 1.45.47 in 1990.

Other notable performances included running 45.98 at the 1988 European Indoor Championships in Budapest winning the silver medal - a feat he repeated in 1989. He ran the last leg of the winning 4x400m relay in the Europa Cup in 1989 (Gateshead) helping Great Britain to win the Europa Cup for the first time.

Whittle was an international schools' high jumper and also competed in the 200m at the 1986 Commonwealth Games making the semi-final.

Personal life[edit]

Whittle's eldest daughter, Carly, concentrated on team sports and played netball for Scotland at 16. She went on to be a PE teacher and competed in the new series of Gladiators, following her father's footsteps - Brian competed in the International Gladiator's series The Springbok Challenge. He coaches his middle daughter Rachel (born in 1995), who has 12 national athletics titles (60m, 100m, 60m Hurdles, high jump, multi-events) to her name and competed at the 2009 International Children's Games in Athens at which she won a bronze in the high jump, silver in the 100 metres and gold in the relay. His youngest daughter, Emma, was born in 2008.[3]


  1. ^ British Athletic Association - Brian Whittle profile
  2. ^ Power of 10 profile
  3. ^ Joan Mcfadden, Legendary athlete Brian Whittle happy to help daughter follow his example, Daily Record, Jul 14 2009