Friday, 26 February 2016

Olympic Moments - Eamonn Coghlan

Going into the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Eamonn Coghlan was fancied for a medal - or even the win in the 1,500 metres. 

Hot favourite Filbert Bayi of Tanzania was missing, because of the African nations’ boycott of the 1976 Games in protest at the New Zealand rugby team’s tour of apartheid-era South Africa that year. Ironically, this greatly helped the cause of New Zealand’s John Walker, who was now tipped as the likely winner.

In his autobiography, Coghlan explain his 1976 Olympic final experience was a classic example of a young athlete being overcome by the big occasion. 

The day before the final, he sought tactical advice from his two coaches. His Dublin trainer Gerry Farnan assured him that he should run his usual race of staying back in the bunch until the last lap. 

On the otherhand his college coach Jumbo Elliott felt that Coghlan needed to assert himself early in the race. Coghlan went with Elliott’s advice and finished fourth.

Montreal July 31st, 1976

1. John Walker (NZL) 3:39.17
2. Ivo Van Damme (BEL) 3:39.27
3. Paul-Heinz Wellmann (FRG) 3:39.33
4. Eamonn Coghlan (IRL) 3:39.51
5. Frank Clement (GBR) 3:39.65
6. Rick Wohlhuter (USA) 3:40.64
7. David Moorcroft (GBR) 3:40.94
8. Graham Crouch (AUS) 3:41.80

9. Janos Zemen (HUN) 3:43.02

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