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Steve Backley, GBR

Full Name: Stephen James Backley
Born: Wednesday, 12th February 1969 (Sidcup, Kent)
Sex:  Male
Height: 1.96m
Weight: 100kg
Event: Javelin
Club: Cambridge Harriers
Coach: John Trower and Calvin Morriss

Personal Bests:

25 Jan 1992
North Shore City, New Zealand

Steve has compiled a superb record over the past decade and is firmly established as one of the all-time greats of the sport, ranked in the World top ten for the javelin each year 1989-2002.

- 1988

Steve had considerable junior success, including a world junior record of 79.50 in 1988.


In 1989 he set three UK All-comers records before his Commonwealth records in Budapest and Barcelona, won six Grand Prix events and the final, and took three major titles. 


In 1990 he was even better, and he became the first British male to set a world record in a throws event with 89.58 in Stockholm, and 90.98 at Crystal Palace on just his second throw with a rough-tailed Németh model.


When the rough-tailed Németh model was banned at the end of 1991, his 89.58 was reinstated as the record, and he improved this with his third world record of 91.46 in New Zealand in January 1992.


Troubled by shoulder and adductor injuries he competed only twice in 1993.


He returned to beat three other world record setters to retain his European and Commonwealth titles in 1994.


Awarded the MBE in the 1995 New Year's Honours.


He returned from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles in April 1996 to take the Olympic silver three months later.


He was just denied a third successive Commonwealth Games gold medal, but won at the World Cup for the third time.


He slipped a little to rank 8th in the world; he had some technical problems but still threw over 83m in all his 12 competitions, although winning just twice. He showed that the magic was still there at the AAAs, when he won with a fifth round throw of 87.59 after, his first throw had gone close to 90 metres only to be ruled a foul at the throwing line.


Steve won his fifth AAA title with a season's best 86.70, before showing brilliant form at the Olympic Games. In the second round he produced an Olympic record throw of 89.85, although that was passed by the Jan Zelezny's 90.17, leaving Steve to take the silver medal, but become the first Briton in any event to win an Olympic medal in three Games.


He had continuing technical problems with his throwing in 2001, but at the British Grand Prix he produced his best throw for nine years with 90.81. Unfortunately he could not match that at the World Championships as his 81.50 was not enough to qualify for the final. He ended the year with 4th places at the Goodwill Games and Grand Prix Final.


In 2002 he completed a record-equalling four successive European gold medals, when, lying in second place to Sergey Makarov's 88.05 with 86.29 and then 86.37, he produced his best throw of the year in the fifth round, 88.54, to take the gold medal.  He had previously won his third Commonwealth title with his opening throw of 86.81 and overall ranked as world number two to Makarov.


Steve opened his 2003 season by winning with 79.66 at Växjo, Sweden on 1 July and then had a fine win at Gateshead with an opening throw of 85.69 and three more over 80m before 85.27 in the final round.  He was second at the British Grand Prix with 82.48, but was unable to find his usual form at the Worlds, struggling to qualify with 80.23 and 9th in the final with 80.13. 

His MBE was advanced to OBE.



  1988 - Gold, 79.50, WJR*

  1989 - Gold, Budapest, ComR**

          - Gold, Barcelona, ComR**

1990 - Gold, Stockholm, 89.58, WR***

         - Gold, Crystal Palace, 90.98, WR***

         - Gold, European Championships

         - Gold, Commonwealth Games

1992 - Gold, New Zealand, 91.46, WR***

         - Bronze, Olympic Games

1994 - Gold, European Championships

         - Gold, Commonwealth Games

1995 - Silver, World Championships

1996 - Silver, Olympic Games

1997 - Silver, World Championships

1998 - Silver, Commonwealth Games

         - Gold, European Championships

         - Gold, World Cup

  2000 - Gold AAAs, 86.70

          - Silver Olympic Games, 89.85

2001 - Gold British Grand Prix, 90.81

         - World Championships, 81.50

         - 4th Goodwill Games

         - 4th Grand Prix Final

2002 - Gold, Commonwealth Games, 86.81

         - Gold European Championships, 88.54

2003 - Gold, Växjo, Sweden, 79.66

         - Gold Gateshead, 85.69

         - Silver British Grand Prix, 82.48

         - 9th World Championships, Paris, 80.23 (q), 80.13 (final)

WJR* World Junior Record

ComR** Commonwealth Record

WR*** World Record

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