It was such a privilege to watch him: Who is Daley Thompson?

He has always been an outlier. He was a name that was always criticized for the sarcastic attitudes he adopted in his statements to the press, the jokes he made about the Princess of England, and the controversial t-shirts he wore.

By Stephen McWright Published on 10 Temmuz 2024 : 14:32.
It was such a privilege to watch him: Who is Daley Thompson?

Daley Thompson was remembered for his dominant performance in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics.

Bob Mortimer was a coach at the Essex Beagles, one of the important athletics clubs in London. On a normal day, he would be in a very good mood. Because the opportunities at the club were quite good. Among his athletes, there were many young people whom he could describe as talented. But that day was not an ordinary day.

The club's four-person decathlon team was to participate in a tournament. The young people were prepared for the tournament at a certain level. Time was spent and effort was made. Everything was ready for a good performance. But the news given to Bob would change the calculations a little. One of the decathletes was suffering from chickenpox. Since Bob didn't have another decathlete on his team, a practical solution was needed. The team that would go to the tournament had to be completed. After thinking for a while, he called out to the young people training:

- Hey! Call me this kid. The one who is a sprinter.

“I started in the sport as a sprinter and joined a local athletics club called the Essex Beagles. My coach, Bob, came one day and said there was one person missing from the decathlon team. So I started decathlon by chance.”

Francis Morgan Ayodélé Thompson (born 30 July 1958), better known as Daley Thompson, is a British former decathlete. He won the decathlon gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984, and broke the world record for the event four times. He was unbeaten in competition for nine years.

Daley Thompson may have gotten into the decathlon by chance, but luck wasn't always on his side throughout his life. The son of a British father of Nigerian origin and a Scottish mother, Daley spent his childhood largely with his mother. He was six years old when his father left home, and seven when his mother sent him to boarding school. His mother worked two or three jobs at the same time to make ends meet. Therefore, it was not possible for him to take care of little Daley. He also found the solution at boarding school. Their relationship with his father, who left home and worked as a taxi driver, was broken. He wouldn't hear from him for a long time. Until, at the age of 11-12, he received a phone call from his mother while he was still living in boarding school.

“They shot him. In Streatham. "While he and his friend were dropping off a woman at her home, the woman's husband shot and killed my father."

When he turned 16, Daley told his mother he wanted to be a professional athlete. He was living with his mother at that time. They still had financial difficulties, and his mother wanted Daley to attend school and contribute financially to the household. Finally, they came to a crossroads. His mother asked Daley to either work or leave home. Daley, on the other hand, was insistent on pursuing his dreams. He left home and moved into the home of Doreen Rayment, one of his mother's closest friends, whom he called Auntie.

“Actually, I wanted to be a football player, but I could not be better than Pele. “I had to be the best at something.”

Now his only goal was to be successful in his sport. In fact, just being successful was not enough for him. He wanted to be the best. For this reason, although he actually wanted to be a football player, he decided on the decathlon. In his opinion, this was the sport he could be best at.

Daley participated in the Olympics for the first time in 1976, when he was 18 years old. Even though his adventure in Montreal did not end successfully, it was an important experience for him. From now on, he would slowly begin to taste success.

In 1978, he would come second in the European Championship and become champion in the Commonwealth Games. At the Moscow Olympics in 1980, his performance would peak and he would have the chance to win a medal at the Olympics for the first time. And this was no ordinary medal. With the gold medal around his neck, he would not hesitate to shout that he was the best in this sport. He wasn't wrong either. As a matter of fact, Daley also held the world record.

On the other hand, since many important countries boycotted the 1980 Olympics, it would not be correct to say that he won his medal there in a very competitive environment. Therefore, the next Olympics were of much greater importance. By 1984, he would win gold medals at the European Championships, Commonwealth Games, and World Championships respectively. He also updated his records in this process. He was coming into the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics completely undefeated. He was impatiently waiting for the Los Angeles Olympics to start.

His most important rival in Los Angeles would be German Jürgen Hingsen. Because he had recently lost the world record to Hingsen. But Daley seemed extremely confident. When he took to the track on August 8, 1984, he would show his difference from the first competition. In the decathlon competition that spanned two days, five competitions were held per day. On the first day, 100-meter, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400-meter competitions were held. On the second day, athletes exhibited their skills in the 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1500 meters. The most skillful one by far was, of course, Daley Thompson. It looked like Thompson's biggest rival for the gold would be Hingsen. However, the real rival was obviously the world record held by Hingsen.

The competitions ended and the points started to be calculated. Daley showed a dominant performance and won the medal. So what happened to the record? The fate of the record was not determined immediately. Daley was one point below Hingsen's record with 8797 points. Two years later, Daley's photo finish in the 110-meter hurdles would be re-examined and his score would be updated and equalized with Hingsen. With the new calculation made later, the record would be given to Daley alone.

The record issue was an issue that developed outside of Daley. But he was always in plain sight. He has always been an outlier. He was a name that was always criticized for the sarcastic attitudes he adopted in his statements to the press, the jokes he made about the Princess of England, and the controversial t-shirts he wore.

Francis Morgan Ayodélé "Daley" Thompson started out unlucky in life, followed his dreams, and created his own luck. While doing this, he achieved performances that made history in sports terms. He can be a bit grumpy and very arrogant. His statements and comments may deserve serious criticism. But there's one thing everyone can agree on: It was such a privilege to watch it.