As part of #ThrowbackThursday and in the build-up to the 100th edition of the Welsh Senior Championships we will be profiling the careers of previous and current Welsh Champions, and how the Welsh Championships have helped them get to the top of their respective events, nationally and internationally.
This week we focus on Long Jumper Lynn Davies CBE, Welsh Record Holder and 1964 Olympic Champion.
In 1961 at the Welsh Championships, Lynn’s potential was noticed by the late Ron Pickering after he won the Triple Jump in a new Welsh Record, and picked up a silver medal in the Long Jump. With Ron’s coaching & guidance, he went on to his first major Championships the following year at just 20 years old, the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, where he narrowly missed out on a medal, but set a new British and Commonwealth record in the process.
Lynn went into the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo ranked 5th in the world, but produced a leading jump of 8.07m in poor weather conditions to clinch the gold medal and become Wales’ first and still only individual Olympic Athletics Champion.
His first of two consecutive Commonwealth Titles came in 1966 along with a European Outdoor title. In doing so, Lynn became the first athlete to hold Olympic, European and Commonwealth titles at the same time.
His personal best of 8.23m, set in Berne in June 1968, still stands as the Welsh National Record today and places him 4th in the UK all time rankings.
Throughout his career, Lynn set 25 Welsh Records, 17 British & Commonwealth Records, and won 7 international Long Jump medals, 6 British titles and 8 Welsh Championship titles.
Reflecting on his Welsh Titles, Lynn said “The Welsh Championships played a key role in my career. It was my ambition as a young schoolboy athlete to compete in the Welsh Championships and become the Welsh Champion. When I did, I remember thinking I am now the best long jumper in Wales. It gave me great confidence and then I set my sights on trying to be the best in Britain”
“When I reflect on the Welsh Championships, it is with very happy memories of competing against the best in Wales and making friendships which continue today and of gaining the confidence and belief that one day I might compete in the Olympic Games.”