Who is Steve Cram?
Steve Cram is a British retired track and field athlete who was one of the world's dominant middle distance runners during the 1980s. He created several world records over the course of his career and was the first man to run 1500 m under 3 minutes and 30 seconds. The winner of the 1500 m at the 1983 World Championships and a silver medalist at the Olympic Games the next year, he had also won several gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. Born into a close knit family in Gateshead, England, he was brought up in an environment where utmost significance was given to the values of hard work and strong ethics. Tall and well-built, he became interested in sports at a young age and took to running early on. He began participating in prestigious competitions and made it to the Olympic team in 1980. He tasted his first big success at the Commonwealth Games in 1982 and took the 1500 m gold. His career took off from there and over the years he collected several medals. Known for his penchant for setting frequent world records, he was equally famous for his on-field rivalry with fellow Britons Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett. Following his retirement he embarked on a career as a television presenter and athletics commentator, motivational speaker and athletics coach
Childhood & Early Life
Stephen Cram was born on 14 October 1960 in Gateshead, England, to Bill and Mia. He had one younger brother, Kevin. His father was a police officer and his mother was of German origin. They were a close knit family.
From a young age he was taught the value of hard work. His father imbibed in the boys a strong sense of ethics and morals.
Cram was a lanky boy with good athletic abilities. He started running from a young age and earned a place in the British Olympic team in 1980 after finishing in second place to Steve Ovett in the mile at Crystal Palace. Cram proceeded to the final of the 1500 m at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games where he finished in 8th place.
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Steve Cram received his first major breakthrough in 1982 when he won the 1500 m gold at the Commonwealth Games. He proceeded to win the gold at the 1982 European Championships in Athens as well.
He suffered some injuries in the early 1980s but recovered well in time for the 1983 World Championships in Helsinki where he beat United States’ Steve Scott and Morocco’s Saïd Aouita to clinch the gold in the men’s track race.
Over the years his professional rivalry with fellow Britons Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett became well known. In 1984, he won the silver in the 1500 m at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, behind defending champion Coe. The rest of the season was severely hampered for Cram due to persistent injuries.
He recovered considerably by 1985 and set several personal best records that year: 800m - 1:42.88, 1000 m - 2:12.88, 1500 m - 3:29.67 and 2000 m - 4:51.39. His great form continued throughout 1986 and he won the 800 m at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh beating Tom McKean and Peter Elliott in 1:43:22 - still the Commonwealth Games record.
At the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart, he won the bronze in the 800 m. Disappointed at his performance at the 800 m, he worked harder in the following races and beat Coe to win the gold medal in the 1500 m.
By the late 1980s his form was beginning to suffer and he was no longer the formidable athlete he once was. Plagued by injuries, he finished eighth after leading into the final bend of the 1987 World Championships final in Rome.
His form improved slightly in 1988 and he was able to beat Bile in the Oslo Dream Mile that year. With the Seoul Olympics coming up, he was touted as one of the favorites to win the gold medal in 1500 m. However he suffered an injury during the games which hampered his performance and he could finish only fourth.
His injuries worsened over the ensuing years and he was no longer able to win major events though he continued to compete professionally. He finished fifth in the 1500 m at the 1990 European Athletics Championships. He retired from athletics in 1994.
Steve Cram began his broadcast career in 1995 with Eurosport and joined the BBC in 1998. Over the course of his broadcasting career he has served as the Chief Athletics commentator and has co-presented the last three Summer Olympic Games as well as the Winter Olympics in 2002 and 2010. In 2014 Cram joined British Athletics as an adviser and mentor in the run-up to the 2016 Summer Olympics. In addition, he is a popular motivational speaker.
He is also the chairman of the English Institute of Sport and the founder and Chairman of COCO, a worldwide charity set up to break down barriers to child education and reduce infant mortality.
Awards & Achievements
In 1983, he was named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
He won the United Press International Athlete of the Year in 1985.
He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1986 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to sport.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Karen in 1983 but the marriage broke down after several years in 2001. He is presently in a relationship with former athlete Allison Curbishley. He has two children.
He suffered a personal tragedy in 2001 when his only brother Kevin died at the age of 39.