Mike Spracklen, MSC OBE (born 15 September 1937) is a British rowing coach who has led teams from Great Britain, United States, Canada to success at the Olympic games and World Rowing Championships, including the early Olympic successes of Steve Redgrave. In 2002 he was named the International Rowing Federation coach of the year.
Life and career
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. 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. After stroking the Canadian eight to Gold in 1992, Dereck Porter turned to single sculling and the following year became world championship. He continued to scull and under Spracklens programme he won Silver in the Atlanta Olympic Games. Jamie Koven of USA also took to sculling after rowing in the US eight under Spracklen and in 1997 he also became world champion to destroy the myth that rowers cannot scull.
In 1997 the British women won Gold in the coxless four, silver in the double sculls and bronze in the eight. In the following year, 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. The silver medal in the women's quad launched a successful four-Olympic medal career for Katherine Grainger.
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.
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.
Spracklen's ability to get athletes to commit fully to his program has been considered his greatest asset. A Spracklen athlete is expected have a balanced life but to prioritise rowing above other aspects of their lives. His program revolves around creating a core group of athletes which may or may not have previous experience on the world stage, and getting them to win. This core group then can be used to inspire a larger group to commit to the Spracklen program. Training runs in all seasons, with little to no cross-training and potentially 2 weeks off after a world championship or Olympic event. Training centers seldom require an invitation but rather allow anyone to participate in the training regime with the top athletes. That being said resources, including his time, are devoted to athletes and boats which are gold medal contenders.
Coaching titlesWorld Championships Women's single Canada Silver (Silken Laumann)
|1976||Olympics||Men's double scull||Great Britain||Silver|
|1977||World Championships||Men's double scull||Great Britain||Gold|
|1978||World Championships||Men's double scull||Great Britain||Silver|
|1980||Moscow Olympic Games||Men's 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||Men's 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||Men's 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||Men's eight||Canada||Silver|
|1990||World Championships||Women's single||Canada||Silver|
|1991||World Championships||Men's eight||Canada||Silver|
|1991||World Championships||Women's single||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||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 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|
|2014||World Championships||Men's eight||Russia||6th|
|2015||European Championships||Men's eight||Russia||Bronze|
- 1989 Officer of the Order of the British Empire
- 1993 Meritorious Service Cross
- 1998 UK and England Coach of the Year by the National Coaching Foundation
- 2002 International Rowing Federation coach of the year.
- 2004 Spirit of Sport Foundation coach of the year
- 2007 Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award
- "Mike Spracklen Named Coach of the Year at FISA's Awards Ceremony". Row2k. 17 November 2002. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
- "Adrian Spracklen". Mercyhurst College Athletics web site. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
- "USA Men's results 1980–2000". RowingHistory.net. Archived from the original on 20 September 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
- Phelps, Richard (25 October 2000). "Spracklen's 'crumbling pyramid'". BBC. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
- "National Team Coaches". Rowing Canada. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
- "The Spracklen method". Archived from the original on 17 March 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
- "The vindication of Mike Spracklen". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
- "Spracklen is voted coach of the year". Regatta Magazine. Amateur Rowing Association. 1998. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
- "SSF Officially Announces Winners of the 31st Annual Canadian Sport Awards". True Sport. 23 March 2004. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
- "Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Awards". Coaching Association of Canada. Archived from the original on 26 April 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.