Colin Jackson

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This article is about the Welsh athlete. For other people called Colin Jackson, see Colin Jackson (disambiguation).
Colin Jackson
Athletissima 2012 - Colin Jackson.jpg
Colin Jackson
Personal information
Nationality British
Born (1967-02-18) 18 February 1967 (age 47)
Cardiff, Wales
Height 1.82 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Weight 75 kg (165 lb; 11.8 st)
Sport
Sport Running, hurdling
Club Brecon Athletics Club

Colin Ray Jackson, CBE (born 18 February 1967) is a Welsh former sprint and hurdling athlete who specialised in the 110 metres hurdles. Over his career representing Great Britain and Wales he won an Olympic silver medal, became world champion three times, went undefeated at the European Championships for 12 years and was a two-time Commonwealth champion. His world record of 12.91 seconds for the 110 m hurdles stood for over a decade and he remains the 60 metres hurdles world record holder.[1]

Jackson won his first major medal, a silver in the 110 m hurdles, at the age of nineteen at the 1986 Commonwealth Games. He soon established himself on the global scene, taking bronze at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics and a silver medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics. After winning another silver in the 60 metres hurdles at the 1989 IAAF World Indoor Championships, he won European and Commonwealth gold medals in 1990. The 1993 season saw him reach the pinnacle of his sport: after a silver at the 1993 Indoor Worlds, he went on to set a world record of 12.91 seconds to become the 1993 World Champion. This mark was unbeaten for almost thirteen years and remains the world championship record. Jackson also helped the British 4×100 metres relay team to the world silver medal.

This period was perhaps Jackson's most successful – he had a streak of 44 races undefeated between 1993 and 1995. In addition to European and Commonwealth golds outdoors in 1994, he set another world record, running 7.30 seconds in the 60 m hurdles. A double gold at the 1994 European Athletics Indoor Championships in the 60 m hurdles and sprint events saw him set a European record of 6.49 seconds over 60 metres. Injury affected his 1995–1996 seasons and he only finished in fourth at the 1996 Olympics. He returned to the global podium in 1997 but took silver twice – behind Anier García at the Indoor World Championships and Allen Johnson in the World Outdoors. After winning the European Championships for a third consecutive time in 1998 he became world champion indoors and out in 1999. He finished fifth at the 2000 Summer Olympics and his last major medals came in 2002, taking European indoor and outdoor gold and a Commonwealth silver.

After a period of sports management and coaching, he now works as a sports commentator for athletics and television presenter (predominantly for the BBC) and appeared in Strictly Come Dancing in 2005.

Athletics career[edit]

Jackson, born in Cardiff, Wales, is of Jamaican, Maroon, Taino, and Scottish ancestry.[2] He is the brother of actress Suzanne Packer who plays Tess Bateman in the BBC One hospital drama Casualty. Jackson grew up in Birchgrove, attending Birchgrove Primary School and then Llanedeyrn High School. He played football and cricket for the county and rugby union and basketball for his school and joined the athletics club Birchgrove Harriers, which nurtured his talent.

Under coach and close friend Malcolm Arnold, he started out as a promising decathlete before switching to high hurdles. He won the gold at the 1986 World Junior Championships and he soon switched to the senior ranks. Following a silver medal in the 1986 Commonwealth Games, he won the 110m hurdles silver at the 1988 Olympic Games behind Roger Kingdom. Although his career as an active competitor in the event would last a further fifteen years, the last ten of these as world record holder, and see him twice crowned World Champion, twice Commonwealth Champion and four times European Champion, this would remain his only Olympic medal of any colour. In 1992 he was restricted by a minor injury and could only finish 7th, and in 1996 he came fourth and in 2000, fifth.

He set his world record for the 110 metres hurdles on 20 August 1993, winning his first World Championships gold medal in Stuttgart, Germany in 12.91 s. The new mark (also a championship record) shaved 0.01 s off the previous record held by Kingdom and stood for nearly thirteen years, only being equalled by Liu Xiang in the 2004 Summer Olympics and finally beaten by the same man on 11 July 2006 at the Super Grand Prix in Lausanne with a time of 12.88 s. However, Jackson remains sole holder of the indoor world record at the 60 metres hurdles with a time of 7.30 seconds set in Sindelfingen, Germany on 6 March 1994. At the 1994 European Indoor Championships he became a double European champion: winning in both the 60 metres hurdles and 60 metres sprint race as well. His 60 m dash time of 6.49 s was a European record, as well as a championship record. These records remained unbettered for 5 years, when Jason Gardener ran 6.46 s in 1999 in Maebashi, Japan.

Jackson at the 2007 European Cup

The aforementioned achievements coincided with one of the high points of Jackson's career: he was unbeaten between 29 August 1993 and 9 February 1995. He won forty-four races consecutively in this period.[3] His winning time at the 1994 Commonwealth Games was a Commonwealth Games record.

Jackson was a master of the "dip" – the skill of leaning forward at the end of a race to advance the position of the shoulders and improve times (and potentially positions). He was also renowned for being a particularly fast starter, which led to a great deal of success in 60m events. Jackson's technical hurdling ability distinguished him from his peers whether they were faster than him or not.

He was the subject of controversy in 1998 when he decided to run for cash in Tokyo, Japan, rather than compete in the Commonwealth Games for Wales.

Six years after his first world title, Jackson regained his 110m hurdles crown at the 1999 Seville World Championships. This was to be his last gold medal at the very highest level, but he added a final, fourth successive European Championships gold in the 2002 Munich European Championships, extending an unbroken reign as European Champion stretching back to 1990.

Whilst commonly linked to Linford Christie, Jackson is also believed to have been the originator of the quote "I started at the B of the Bang".

Post-retirement career[edit]

Jackson at the 2007 Highland Games

Since ending his professional career at the 2003 World Indoor Championships Jackson has been a coach, in athletics and other areas. He coached his close friend the swimmer Mark Foster until Foster's retirement in April 2006. He has coached two of Great Britain's top Olympic prospects, 400m runner Timothy Benjamin and 400m hurdler Rhys Williams. He was also one of the members of the successful London 2012 Olympic bid team and is a key member of the BBC's televisions athletics coverage. However, he started his broadcasting career in 2004 by co-hosting, with Sally Gunnell, the BBC reality TV programme Born to Win.

Already the holder of the MBE that he received in 1990 for his services to athletics, in 1999 he was promoted to OBE and then in 2003 to a CBE.[4]

The English reggae band Aswad name-checked him on their 1994 hit song Shine: Him a floating like a butterfly, the hurdling man – Yes, me-a-chat about Colin Jackson.

Jackson has written three books, the first, The Young Track and Field Athlete, which was published in March 1996, by Dorling Kindersley, his second, Colin Jackson: The Autobiography, which was published in April 2004 by BBC Books and his last, Life's New Hurdles, which was published in March 2008 by Accent Press Ltd as part of the Quick Read Initiative.

Media career[edit]

After retiring from athletics, he became the face of BBC Raise Your Game with Colin Jackson in which he interviews high profile, international stars to talk about the importance of learning. Stars such as Luol Deng, Jenson Button, the stars of Strictly Come Dancing and Davina McCall to name but a few.

He is Director of multimedia production company Red Shoes, along with fellow Director and former BBC Exec Producer Richard Owen. Their clients include the IAAF and UEFA.

Jackson at a charity event in 2005

Jackson took part in an episode of the BBC TV genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?,[5] broadcast in the UK on 20 September 2006. Of Jamaican descent, genetic tests showed his ancestry to be 55% African, 7% Native American (believed to be from Jamaican Maroon Ancestry on his father's side), and 38% European. His mother was born in Panama, the daughter of Richard Augustus Packer and Gladys McGowan Campbell. Gladys Campbell was from Jamaica, the daughter of a Scottish man Duncan Campbell and his housemaid Albertina Wallace.[6]

In March 2007 Jackson starred as the 'hidden celebrity' in an episode of the award winning CBBC gameshow Hider in the House, hosted by JK and Joel.

In March 2008, an interview with The Voice newspaper, Jackson denied claims that he is gay, adding that he believed the stigma surrounding gay athletes to be a thing of the past.[7]

In 2008, Jackson co-hosted with Louise Minchin, the Sunday morning show Sunday Life on BBC One.

Colin Jackson appeared in the BBC One documentary The Making of Me on 31 July 2008 in attempt to find out what had made him such a talented athlete.[8] A sample of his leg muscle showed that he had 25% super fast twitch fibres, when all previous athletes tested had only 2%. Family support was also thought to have been highly significant. Jamaicans are notable for the high level of support and encouragement they give their children in the area of sports. A notable clip showed a stadium in Jamaica with 30,000 people cheering on children taking part in an average school sports meet. This included their peers, who seemed happy to cheer on their class mates who were 'good at sports'. Although Colin was brought up in the UK, he remembers his parents cheering on Don Quarrie in the 1976 Olympics, inspiring him to want to 'be like that'.

In 2009 Jackson shared his writing tips on the adult learning website BBC raw words. He features in a comedy short with Nina Wadia, Rowland Rivron and Anneka Rice about structuring a story and also shares his writing tips gained from writing Life's New Hurdles.

In July 2010, Jackson entered the BBC television programme Celebrity MasterChef.

Colin Jackson is also Zeitz Foundation Specialist for Culture.

In 2012 Jackson made a cameo appearance as himself in an episode of the UK TV comedy drama Stella.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

In 2005 he appeared as one of the celebrity contestants on the BBC TV series Strictly Come Dancing, where he came second with his dance partner Erin Boag, just losing out to cricketer Darren Gough. In 2006 Jackson became the first competitor who had not won the main series to win the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.

Red Shoes Academy[edit]

In 2012 Jackson launched the Red Shoes Academy in which Olympic & Paralympic sports personalities deliver a presentation to whole school assemblies to motivate youngsters to find the 'Champion Within'.

Personal bests[edit]

Outdoor
Indoor
  • 60 metres – 6.49 sec (1994), former European record
  • All information from IAAF profile.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 60 Metres Hurdles Records. IAAF (4 April 2009). Retrieved on 4 April 2009.
  2. ^ Who Do You Think You Are – Colin Jackson. BBC Sport. Retrieved on 18 June 2009.
  3. ^ Cram, Steve (2001). Colin Jackson captures the world record. BBC Sport. Retrieved on 1 September 2009.
  4. ^ "BBC SPORT | Athletics | Jackson receives CBE". BBC News. 10 December 2003. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "BBC ONE Autumn 2006". BBC. 18 July 2006. 
  6. ^ Nick Barratt, WDYTYA? Series three: Celebrity gallery – Colin Jackson, BBC History, 20 September 2006, accessed 27 September 2006
  7. ^ "I'm not gay, I like being single says Olympic star Colin Jackson". Daily Mail (London). 10 March 2008. 
  8. ^ "BBC One – The Making of Me, Colin Jackson". Bbc.co.uk. 22 August 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Colin Jackson. IAAF. Retrieved on 26 July 2014.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Colin Jackson: The Autobiography (BBC Books, 2003)

External links[edit]

Records
Preceded by
United States Roger Kingdom
Men's 110 m Hurdles World Record Holder
20 August 1993 – 11 July 2006
Succeeded by
China Liu Xiang
Preceded by
France Stéphane Caristan
Men's 110 m Hurdles European Record Holder
20 August 1993 –
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
United States Roger Kingdom
Men's 60 m Hurdles Indoor World Record Holder
6 March 1994 –
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Awards
Preceded by
Wales Ian Woosnam
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year
1988
Succeeded by
Wales Stephen Dodd
Preceded by
Wales Tanni Grey
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year
1993
Succeeded by
Wales Steve Robinson
Preceded by
England Linford Christie
Men's European Athlete of the Year
1994
Succeeded by
England Jonathan Edwards
Preceded by
Wales Iwan Thomas
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year
1999
Succeeded by
Wales Tanni Grey-Thompson
Sporting positions
Preceded by
United States Roger Kingdom
Men's 110 m Hurdles Best Year Performance
1990
Succeeded by
United States Tony Dees
Preceded by
United States Tony Dees
Men's 110 m Hurdles Best Year Performance
1992—1994
Succeeded by
United States Allen Johnson
Preceded by
Denise Lewis and Ian Waite
Strictly Come Dancing runner up
(with partner Erin Boag)

Series 3 (2005)
Succeeded by
Matt Dawson and Lilia Kopylova