Mike Spracklen

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Mike Spracklen (born 15 September 1937) is an international rowing coach who has led teams from Great Britain, USA, Canada to success at the Olympic games and Rowing World Championships, including the early Olympic successes of Steven Redgrave. In 2002 he was named the International Rowing Federation coach of the year.[1]

Spracklen was also part of the coaching team that brought Oxford University success in the annual Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Mike's youngest son Adrian is a former British international lightweight oarsman and now coaches rowing at Mercyhurst College, Pennsylvania.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Spracklen was born in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England. Spracklen's first major success was in coaching the Great Britain double scull to silver in the Montreal Olympic Games 1976. In 1984 he coached the coxed four to victory at the Los Angeles Olympics It was the first gold since 1948. From that crew he took Steve Redgrave and Andy Holmes to a further Olympic gold in the coxless pair (and bronze in the coxed pair) in Seoul in 1988, before moving to Canada as head coach in 1989 and becoming a full-time professional coach.

The Canadian men's eight took gold at the 1992 Olympics under his tutelage, and Spracklen moved on to coach the USA squad.[3] He inaugurated the rowing venue at the new Chula Vista Olympic Training Center. After a disappointing finishing position of fifth in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic eights, he returned to Great Britain as the Women's national coach.

In 1998 the British women achieved their first heavyweight Gold at a World Championship, in the double sculls. After the 2000 Olympics, where the British women took silver in the quad sculls, the first Olympic medal for British women, Spracklen's contract was not renewed, with the BBC reporting discontent in the squad over his methods.[4] The silver medal in the women's quad launched a successful four-Olympic medal career for Katherine Grainger.

Since 2000 Spracklen has been coaching the Canadian men's squad, winning the Gold medal for eights at the 2002, 2003 and 2007 World Championships[5] and at the 2008 Olympics.

After leading Canada's men's eight to a gold medal in Beijing in 2008 and a silver at the 2012 London Olympics, Rowing Canada announced in the fall of 2012 that it was moving forward without Spracklen on its coaching team.

Coaching style[edit]

Spracklen's coaching revolves around finding a balance between the factors that affect the speed of the boat: Power (the effort per stroke), Length of Stroke, Rate (number of strokes taken each minute) and Technique.[6]

Coaching titles[edit]

Year Championship Event Nation Result
1976 Olympics Mens double sculls Great Britain Silver
1977 World Championships Mens double scull Great Britain Gold
1978 World Championships Mens double scull Great Britain Silver
1980 Moscow Olympic Games Mens Four Scull Japan Boycott
1984 Olympics Men's Coxed Four Great Britain Gold
1985 World Championship Men's coxless pair Great Britain Silver
1986 World Championships Mens coxed pair Great Britain Gold
1987 World Championships Men's coxless pair Great Britain Gold
1987 World Championships Coxed pair Great Britain Silver
1988 Olympics Men's Coxless Pair Great Britain Gold
1988 Olympics Mens coxed pair Great Britain Bronze
1989 World championships Men's coxless Pair Great Britain Silver
1989 World Championships Men's coxed four Great Britain Bronze
1990 World Championships Mens eight Canada Silver
1990 World Championships Women's single Canada Silver
1991 World Championships Mens eight Canada Silver
1991 World Championships Women's single Canada Gold
1992 Olympics Men's Eight Canada Gold
1992 Olympics Women's Single Scull Canada (Silken Laumann) Bronze
1993 World Championships Men's Eight USA Bronze
1994 World Championships Men's Eight USA Gold
1995 World Championships Men's Eight USA Bronze
1996 Olympics Men's Eight USA 5th
1996 Olympics Women's Single Sculls Canada (Silken Laumann) Silver
1997 World Championships Women's Double Sculls Great Britain Silver
1998 World Championships Women's Double Sculls Great Britain Gold
1998 World Championships Women's coxless pair Great Britain Silver
2000 Olympics Women's Quadruple Sculls Great Britain Silver
2002 World Championships Men's Eight Canada Gold
2003 World Championships Men's Eight Canada Gold
2003 World Championships Men's Coxless Four Canada Gold
2004 Olympics Men's Coxless Four Canada Silver
2006 World Championships Men's Coxless Pair Canada Bronze
2007 World Championships Men's Eight Canada Gold
2008 Olympics Men's Eight Canada Gold
2008 Olympics Men's Coxless Pair Canada Silver
2009 World Championships Men's Eight Canada Silver
2011 World Championships Men's Eight Canada Bronze
2011 World Championships Men's Coxed Pair Canada Bronze
2012 Olympics Men's Eight Canada Silver

Honours[edit]

  • 1998 UK and England Coach of the Year by the National Coaching Foundation[7]
  • 2002 International Rowing Federation coach of the year.
  • 2004 Spirit of Sport Foundation coach of the year[8]
  • 2007 Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mike Spracklen Named Coach of the Year at FISA's Awards Ceremony". Row2k. 2002-11-17. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  2. ^ "Adrian Spracklen". Mercyhurst College Athletics web site. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  3. ^ "USA Men's results 1980–2000". RowingHistory.net. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  4. ^ Phelps, Richard (2000-10-25). "Spracklen's 'crumbling pyramid'". BBC. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  5. ^ "National Team Coaches". Rowing Canada. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  6. ^ "The Spracklen method". Retrieved 2008-09-22. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Spracklen is voted coach of the year". Regatta Magazine. Amateur Rowing Association. 1998. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  8. ^ "SSF Officially Announces Winners of the 31st Annual Canadian Sport Awards". True Sport. 2004-03-23. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  9. ^ "Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Awards". Coaching Association of Canada. Archived from the original on 2008-04-26. Retrieved 2008-09-22.