Hall of Fame 2012 inductees

Hall of Fame 2012 inductees

Hall of Fame - Inductees 2012


Don Finlay

Don Finlay

To describe Don Finlay as having been merely a remarkable athlete would be to sell him short. He was a remarkable man. 

Although the twin peaks of athletic endeavour – an Olympic victory and a world record – eluded him, his career as a sprint hurdler was unique. Two Olympic medals, victories in the European Championships and Empire Games, and an almost perfect international match record ... that was the considerable sum of his achievements when the War diverted his attentions to more serious affairs in 1939.

Yet he returned to competition in 1947, made his third Olympic team, set a British record in 1949 and bowed out of international competition with fourth place at the 1950 Empire Games – as a 40 year-old grandfather!

Inductee Don Finlay presented to Don's daughter Lisa TomlinIt was in 1932 that he established himself as Europe’s no 1 – a state of affairs that continued throughout the 1930s. He won the first of seven consecutive AAA titles and, at the Los Angeles Olympics, surpassed himself by taking the bronze medal.  Between 1933 and 1939 he lost only nine races, but it was not until the 1936 Olympics that he dislodged Lord Burghley as British record holder. Again the supreme challenge of Olympic competition in Berlin drew the best out of Finlay who burst through spectacularly in the closing stages to finish second in 14.4. 

Finlay’s fastest runs came in 1937 but he never received official credit for them. In Paris he recorded 14.2 and in Stockholm 14.1 but both were discounted as European records because of suspected wind assistance, although a photo taken at the finish of the Stockholm race shows a flag drooping limply. However, he did record an official 14.3 when winning the 1938 European title.

  • The award was presented to Don's daughter Lisa Tomlin by Jack Miller (Hall of Fame Panel member) and 110m Hurdles European and Commonwealth Games Champion Andy Turner.

 
Bottom photo by Mark Shearman.

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Fred Fred Housden with David HemeryHousden

Best known as the man who taught David Hemery to hurdle, Fred Housden was not only one of the finest coaches Britain has ever produced but someone who gave so much to his country in so many ways.  During the First World War he served as a major in the Royal Field Artillery and was awarded the Military Cross. Three years after the War, in 1921, he represented England in the 110m hurdles and long jump, but it was as a pole vaulter that he achieved his best results. He placed second in the AAA Championships of 1928 and 1929 and represented the British Empire against the USA in 1928. His personal best was 3.50m at a time when the British record stood at 3.61m. He enjoyed a very long career as a vaulter, finishing third in the 1936 Inter-Counties in his 44th year, and even in his eighth decade he would demonstrate hurdling and high jump techniques and exercises to the athletes he trained.

Inductee Fred Housden presented to David HemeryHousden was a mathematics teacher at Harrow School for many years and in 1949 he was awarded the OBE for services to the Imperial Cadet Association. Early in the 1960s he collaborated with Geoff Dyson on the book, The Mechanics of Athletics, which remains the definitive work on the subject, and he was heavily involved with experiments involving women's hurdling heights and distances which eventually led to the 80m hurdles being superseded by the 100m event.

Already a long serving and successful coach, whose pupils included the British 80m hurdles record holder Pat Pryce (née Nutting), he was well into his seventies when David Hemery was introduced to him. Interviewed shortly after his 1968 Olympic 400m hurdles triumph, Hemery stated: "Fred Housden's the man who taught me how to hurdle and I think it stood me in tremendously good stead being a high hurdler. That's because if you get too close to a quarter hurdle but you have a fast lead leg it doesn't make that much difference. With Fred I had a coach who fully explained the mechanics of hurdling and the methods behind his coaching technique."

Fred Housden's attributes, according to Hemery, were: "patience, humility, technically knowledgeable, awesome eye, humour, caring, respect, friendship, a real gentleman.

  • The award was accepted by David Hemery on Fred's behalf from Hall Of Fame panel chair and Olympic Gold medallist Darren Campbell.

 
Photographs by Mark Shearman

Click here to watch archive footage of each 2012 inductee, or click here to browse all Hall of Fame Inductee videos online in our EA-TV section.

 

Hall of Fame - Past Inductees

  


Biographies of everyone inducted in the Hall of Fame are available in our Hall of Fame Journals. See www.englandathletics.org/shop to buy journals and other England Athletics products such as training wear.