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"When I compete in the decathlon I become a different person." Daley Thompson's Olympic Achievements

  • by: Jennifer Robinson
  • On: 6, May 2016
2 min read

VHR is honored to present for our 4th Speed Meet Greet: Two-time Olympic Decathlon champion Daley Thompson.


"I had so much belief in myself" was Thompson’s mantra, and for the world famous sporting legend that dominated the event for a decade, we can certainly say that it worked!

Francis Morgan “Daley” Thompson was born in London (30 July 1958). At seven years old, Daley was sent to Farney Close Boarding School in Bolsney, Sussex, where he took an interest in athletics: his first ambition was to become a professional footballer.


By the age of 14, Daley competed for the first time in an official competition, gaining a 5th in the shot-put, 3rd in a race and winning the high jump competition. One year later, he had already become National Champion on the 60m indoor track with a time of 6.9. In the same year, returning to London for school, he met Bob Mortimer, his PE coach who suggested that he tried the decathlon.


The British athlete was literally in love with the points system of the decathlon.
"When I compete in the decathlon I become a different person."
To win just one race meant nothing to him as he found out he was actually good at multiple events. By 17, Daley competed for the first time in the decathlon and won 6685 points in total - an exceptional achievement for an athlete his age.


From his young age, it didn’t take long to see him winning events. In 1976 he took part in his first Olympics, the Summer Games of Montreal. In 1977 he won the European Junior Championships and he a gold medal at the Commonwealth Championships of 1978.


Not content on winning, Daley set a new world record in 1980 with 8648 points. He achieved this remarkable score in Gotzins, Austria, home of the famous Hypo-Meeting.
In that same year, he went on to win the first of his two Olympic Golds at the Moscow Olympics, his amazing form continued back in Austria, raising the World Championship bar higher with the record going up to 8,774 points. He then went to Australia and became Commonwealth Champion for the 2nd time of his now illustrious career.


1983 saw the first World Championships for Atheltics, held in Helsinki, Finland. Yet again, Thompson showed his dominance beating his nemesis Jurgen Hingsen by 105 points.
By virtue of his success in the World Championships, he became the first athelete in any discipline to hold Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European title in a single event simultaneously.


The following year Thompson had a new goal: to defend the Olympic title at the Los Angeles Olmpics. Building on its determination and will to win, he won the race and broke both the World and Olympic record.


This new world record would stand until 1992, when his record was finally beaten by the American Dan O'Brien.
Wining his third Commonwealth gold in 1986, he suffered his first defeat in nine years in 1987. Attempting to win his 3rd Gold in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, he fell short due to injury only managing to gain 4th position.


Thompson's rivalry with West German athlete Jürgen Hingsen was legendary in the sport throughout the 80s. The pair constantly traded world records, but Thompson always had the upper hand in the major events, remaining undefeated in all competitions for those nine years between 1979 and 1987.
Despite a persistent hamstring injury, Thompson continued in athletics, finally retiring in 1992.
Post retirement he joined professional football clubs Mansfield Town and Stevenage Borough and whilst developing media appointments, motivational speaking and establishing his own Fitness brand Daley fitness.

Daley Thompson will be at Speed Meet Greet on the Thursday 26th May at the Royal Aeronautical Society.


For more information about VHR or specialist technical recruitment please contact VHR: +44 (0) 207 500 7980



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