Sally Gunnell is one of Britains most popular female sportswomen of all time, and one of our most successful. She remains the only woman to hold the World, Commonwealth, European and Olympic titles simultaneously.
Sally was brought up in Essex and started her career as a long jumper and pentathlete. She became known as Chigwell’s finest following her triumph in the 100m hurdles at the 1986 Commonwealth Games. Having won the gold medal in Edinburgh, her coach Bruce Longden persuaded Sally that her strength and stamina would be better suited to the 400m hurdles. Only two years later she set a British record for that event of 12.82 seconds.
Sally displayed huge talent her new event and went on to win the gold medal at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. Only two years later at the 1992 Games Sally was up against Sandra Farmer-Patrick of the United Stated, who at the time was equal best in the world. Never the less, Gunnell’s performance in Barcelona earned her the gold, in no small part due to her training under Longden.
Sally’s injuries eventually forced her retirement from elite sport, but she continued to remain in the public eye, thanks to her TV career. She worked for the BBC through the late Nineties and early Noughties, covering athletics events from around the world.
Her passion for health and well being was a key component of her athletics success. She took her knowledge and experience in to the printed word, writing four influential books on the subject.