|Representing United Kingdom|
|1964 Tokyo||4x400 metres relay|
|European Athletics Championships|
|1962 Belgrade||400 metres|
|1962 Belgrade||4x400 metres relay|
|1962 Perth||440 yards|
|1962 Perth||4x440 yards relay|
Brightwell was born in Rawalpindi, British India, but moved to the UK with his family in 1946 and grew up in Donnington, Shropshire. He gained his athletic training at Shrewsbury Technical College and went on to become a sportsmaster at Tiffin Boys' School in Surrey, England.
During the Olympic Games held in Tokyo, he was captain of the men's British Olympic Team. Running the final stage in the men's 4 x 400 metres relay, he passed Wendell Mottley of Trinidad & Tobago to finish second to Henry Carr of the USA. In the individual 400 metres he finished fourth.
His fiancée at that time was Ann Packer who won a gold medal in the women's 800 metres (run) on the day after the men's individual 400 metres final. After winning a silver medal in the 400 metres Packer had no plans to run in the 800 metres and had a shopping trip planned until Brightwell's disappointing 400 metres. She said she ran it for him and broke the world record in the process.
The captaincy of the British Team and his silver medal was the climax of his career. Aged 24 years early in 1964 he announced that he would retire after the Olympic Games. He and Packer were each awarded the MBE in 1965.
Brightwell and Packer were married on 19 December 1964 and had three sons: Gary, and two former Manchester City players Ian and David. Brightwell went into teaching before moving to lecture at the then Loughborough College and before taking up successive directorships with sports companies Adidas UK and Le Coq Sportif UK. He also ran a fishing tackle business for thirty years. He lives in Congleton, Cheshire.
- Times On Line biography of Robbie Brightwell and Ann Packer Archived 27 September 2007 at Archive.is
- Robbie Brightwell. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2015-06-19.
- Athletics career summary