SPOT­LIGHT

ONE OF THE COUN­TRY’S BEST-LOVED COM­MEN­TA­TORS, STU­ART STOREY, LOOKS BACK ON AN AMAZ­ING CA­REER

Athletics Weekly - - News -

Stu­art Storey looks back on his ca­reer as an ath­let­ics com­men­ta­tor

“NEI­THER DAVID COLE­MAN, RON PICK­ER­ING NOR MY­SELF WOULD GET BBC COM­MEN­TARY JOBS TO­DAY BE­CAUSE WE HAVEN’T GOT A WORLD OR OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL AROUND OUR NECKS”

ONE of Bri­tain’s great­est sports com­men­ta­tors, Stu­art Storey, hangs up his mi­cro­phone this au­tumn af­ter 44 years of cov­er­ing the biggest ath­let­ics meet­ings on the planet. The 75-year-old worked on his fi­nal ath­let­ics event in Brus­sels ear­lier this month and will com­men­tate on the Ber­lin Marathon for Eurosport on Septem­ber 24 and Cardiff Half-Marathon for BBC Wales on Oc­to­ber 1 be­fore leav­ing the job to en­joy his re­tire­ment.

“Af­ter 44 years, it’s time to stop,” he told AW at the Di­a­mond League in Birm­ing­ham re­cently. “It was a priv­i­lege to work along­side David Cole­man and Ron Pick­er­ing and then Bren­dan Foster came in and joined us. So when Bren­dan said

he was re­tir­ing I thought ‘now I can be the last’. I’m pleased he’s re­tired, so I can now go too! I want to get back to the golf course and other things as well, al­though I’ll miss cov­er­ing ath­let­ics – it’s been a great job.”

Storey will for­ever be syn­ony­mous with a golden era of ath­let­ics com­men­tary on the BBC dur­ing the 1980s. But he started life in television com­men­tary in 1973 af­ter he had en­joyed a ca­reer as a top sprint hur­dler.

As a teenager he won two English Schools ti­tles and went on to rep­re­sent Great Bri­tain in the 1968 Olympics and 1969 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships and Eng­land at the 1970 Com­mon­wealth Games. He has fond mem­o­ries of racing fel­low Brits like Alan Pas­coe and top Amer­i­cans like Rich­mond Flow­ers and

Olympic cham­pion Wil­lie Daven­port in front of 35,000 spec­ta­tors at the White City.

He re­mem­bers: “You had to warm up on the line be­cause you didn’t want to put a trench in the track.”

More re­cently, at a Di­a­mond League event in Shang­hai, he amused Allen John­son, the Olympic and three-time world cham­pion, with tales of how he trained in the 1960s.

“He was cry­ing with laugh­ter at how I’d trained for the Olympics over three home­made bar­ri­ers at the lo­cal bowls green,” says Storey, “with some­one stop­ping peo­ple walk­ing out on the bowls green when I was run­ning over the hur­dles.”

His own ath­let­ics ex­cel­lence put him in good stead for a ca­reer as a sports

com­men­ta­tor. Al­though his tal­ent was first spot­ted at a bas­ket­ball match.

“I started in 1973 as a re­sult of my wife, who was an in­ter­na­tional bas­ket­ball player, do­ing the first ever court­side com­men­tary in Bri­tain,” he ex­plains. “Some­one heard what I was do­ing, heard I was an Olympian, thought my voice was quite good and that I should come and try out.”

Storey was soon asked to work along­side the leg­endary Cole­man, who iron­i­cally had com­men­tated on Storey dur­ing his run-up to the Mex­ico Olympics. “At my first ma­jor meet­ing I sat with David in the com­men­tary box at end of ’73 or start of ’74 and he said to me, ‘this is television and the com­men­ta­tor says what the pic­ture does not say’.

STU­ART STOREY

As well as be­ing a TV com­men­ta­tor and Olympian, Stu­art Storey is chair of the Ron Pick­er­ing Me­mo­rial Fund

Stu­art Storey: poised

to bring to an end a 44-year ca­reer as an ath­let­ics com­men­ta­tor

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