After 7 Gold medals, a world record, two Olympic silver medals and one bronze, Steve Backley finally hung up his javelin at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, proving he was still one of the world's best by placing 4th in the final.
Steve was one of Britains most consistent and popular athletes for over a decade, as well as being firmly established as one of the all time greats of the sport having been ranked in the world top ten for javelin every year between 1989 and 2002.
A constant fixture in the national athletics team, standing on podiums and setting world records, Steve is the only British track and field competitor to win medals at three different Olympic Games Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney.
It has been a long and successful career for Steve Backley, who first made his mark by winning silver at the 1988 Junior World Championships and breaking the world junior record in the same year. He went on in his first two years as a senior athlete to be the worlds number one javelin thrower, the first time ever for a British athlete. In 1989 Steve claimed the UK and Commonwealth records.
In the following year Steve gained gold medals at both the European and Commonwealth Championships. He went on in 2002 to become only the second male ever to complete a successive four European gold medals, although he was joined by British hurdler Colin Jackson later on in the same championships.
In 1990 Steve also became the first British male to set a World Record in a throws event when he threw 89.58m in Stockholm, Sweden. He broke this record himself later that year when he threw 90.98m at Crystal Palace, with a rough tailed Nemeth model. When this was banned at the end of 1991, Steves 89.58m was reinstated, until he improved it by throwing 91.46m in New Zealand in 1992, which stood until a year later when his record was broken by his long time nemesis the Czech athlete, Jan Zelezny.
Steve has continually fought back from injury setbacks in his career, including a ruptured Achilles and shoulder and abductor injuries.
In 2003 Steve struggled to find his top form and was disappointed at the World Championships in Paris to finish 9th in the final after a throw of 80.13m.
Off track, Steve was delighted to be awarded with an OBE in 2002 following the MBE he received in 1995. In 1990 he was also voted IAAF Athlete of the Year, British Athletics Writers Athlete of the Year and British Sports Writers Sportsman of the Year as well as coming fourth in the prestigious BBC TV Sports Personality of the Year.
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