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The Perfect Distance
Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 12/31/2012 11:30PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I am reading "The Perfect Distance" now. It gives more insight into Andy.

It says, in addition to other things, he manipulated drug test results. It also implies that he was sort of a bully and got his way (I don't know if this is Pat Butcher's bias or if this was true).

Anyway, the book goes onto state some more interesting things you may want to read about yourself, such as:

Andy Norman removed athletes (like Mike Boit) from Steve Ovett's events whenever Ovett requested it. There was a clear conflict of interest with Andy Norman as he was the best man @ Ovett's wedding and favored certain athletes over others.

The book says he's done this sort of thing for other athletes (didn't mention Coe in particular though). The book also says that he did the opposite to a 400m hurdler (Akabusi) whom he disliked. Apparently at his farewell race in England - Norman brought in Kevin Young to pretty much ensure Akabusi would not win the 400m hurdles.

And then I remembered back to how meet director Ian Stewart blackballed Nick Symmonds from his meet. Why are English meet directors so cut throat?
iwant2napwithmisweethrt
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 12/31/2012 11:40PM - in reply to The Perfect Distance Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I wouldn't read into it that much.
Running on Empathy
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 12/31/2012 11:44PM - in reply to The Perfect Distance Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I've read the book several times. Don't really remember the Mike Boit claim. There was quite a bit of gamesmanship between the Ovett and Coe camps in the run-up to Moscow where one of them would suddenly switch to the other's event, only to have that one change events as well.

Whatever negative things Norman did, one thing he should get alot of credit for is allowing the elite athletes to have made a living doing what they did best.
coach d
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 12/31/2012 11:49PM - in reply to Running on Empathy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
From the Andy Norman obituary in The Guardian:



His style soon reflected the bullying tactics that were allegedly used at that time in some parts of the Metropolitan police. As far as many leading British athletes were concerned, he was careful to promote them, and by paying money to a third party - a coach or relative - he was at least providing nominal support of the rules. By the late 1970s the sport was rife with rumours of illegal payments. Finally, the International Amateur Athletic Federation, under its notorious president, Primo Nebiolo (obituary, November 8 1999), realised there had to be change. Nebiolo and Norman were men of the same ilk, both economic in the application of the rules, but finally they saw a need for recognising some degree of honesty.

At the annual meeting of the federation in 1982, in Athens, the crucial rule ending strict amateurism was proposed. Nebiolo, unsure that he would get what he wanted in the face of strong opposition from the eastern European bloc, called on Norman to propose the resolution. If I had anything in common with Norman, it was to get rid of the dishonesty of "shamateurism", and in my room at the Royal Olympic Hotel, I sat with him and wrote his speech. The resolution was passed, the result being more money from sponsorship and a new television contract worth £7m over four years with ITV, much to the anguish of the BBC, whose association with the sport went back uninterrupted to the Olympic games of 1948 in London.

This new money and freedom brought Norman greater power and influence. He became far more of a bully and dictator. If an athlete who wanted money for his or her performance did not toe the Norman line, they could be shut out - from British meetings and also events across Europe. On the other hand, he supported many athletes who would not turn out to be the star performers he needed. He had strong links with the annual international meeting in Oslo and on one occasion, when he had arranged that Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett would run, he insisted that 47 other British athletes take part, which dismayed the promoter. Among them were many who required competition to obtain times or distances to qualify for other events.



Guilty as charged?
SMJO
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 2:51AM - in reply to coach d Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
In the end Ovett was completely distanced from Norman and couldn't stand him. Enough said.
Another view
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 10:45AM - in reply to The Perfect Distance Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Moes Tavern tells a funny story that when he first met Andy Norman that he was, in his words, both scared and in awe of Andy.
When Andy paid him after the meet, he noticed that their contract read only numbers and not referring to dollars or pounds. He told Andy that since they were in England he assumed that his athletes would be paid in pounds which would double their fees. Andy stopped and asked if he knew how many agents had been stupid enough to try that trick on him. Troy laughed it off and said it was worth the try. Andy then asked him where he was going next and and when he said Italy, Andy threatened to call the Italian meet promoter to have him paid in Italian lire so that a $2,000 athlete would get like 10 bucks or so. Troy joked that no dollars would be fine.
He said Andy even laughed and Troy asked him how many others had tried that and Andy said "only you." Troy said Andy always treated him well after that.
Ego as big as a house
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 11:09AM - in reply to The Perfect Distance Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Andy, Nasty bad man, corrupt to the core.
Its a power thing , Ian is nasty little prick only worried about his ego.
At some point the behind the scenes corruption with wife ( Hightower ) will come into view , it will be fun to watch both of them go up in flames.
Not Ron Hill
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 11:55AM - in reply to The Perfect Distance Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
As I recall, those were the days of ‘shamamateurism’ and it needed someone who was a real SoB to take on the clowns that ran the system.
Some poor devil, I think his name was Tarrant, used to hide as we lined up for races and then join in when we were off.
He was banned from officially running in any race in the UK - but we runners had nothing but sympathy for him.
His crime? - he had won a few measly pounds boxing a couple of times at fairground boxing booths.

I remember Andy Norman well, I used to train at the London (Met) police cross-country HQ at Hayes in Kent and he, the Met police athletic secretary back then, used to grab me to run for them in their fixtures, warning me not to come home in the first three - in case questions were asked.
ukathleticscoach
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 12:21PM - in reply to The Perfect Distance Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You need to read the book , as it was the management of Juantorena who tried to shift Boit into Ovett's race from the 800m at the last minute. Ovett objected to that but no mention was made of Norman

You are not really update on the latest Norman story either
The Perfect Distance
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 12:31PM - in reply to ukathleticscoach Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Wrong. You need to read the book again. It was Norman. Please enlighten me on the latest Norman story since you are in the know.
Running on Empathy
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 1:39PM - in reply to ukathleticscoach Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

ukathleticscoach wrote:

You need to read the book , as it was the management of Juantorena who tried to shift Boit into Ovett's race from the 800m at the last minute. Ovett objected to that but no mention was made of Norman

You are not really update on the latest Norman story either


This is correct. The Juantorena camp was wary of the fact that Ovett was developing into a better middle distance athlete than Juantorena, and were trying to headgame Ovett. Ovett would have none of it.

In the end didn't they end up running two separate 800's, one for Juantorena and another for Boit?
rojo
co-founder
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 3:09PM - in reply to Running on Empathy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm assuming people have seen our QOD for today where former 1:44 800 runner Ikem Billy says he was paid $10,000 by Norman to lose a race to Coe:


Norman said:

"I was paid to finish second. I admit that it was fixed. (British Athletics promotion director) Andy (Norman) paid me to finish second. He told me: 'Make sure you don't win.'"

"Everyone was scared of Andy. He dominated the sport. He could do what he wanted."

"That night, an hour before the race, he came up to me and he said, 'The people here have come to see Seb Coe win. They don't care about you.'"


more here: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/seb-coes-last-race-was-fixed-so-he-could-win-says-runner-who-took-10000-to-lose.19790386
Moe's Tavern
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 3:24PM - in reply to Another view Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
G, you have a decent memory to an old story. Andy was always fair with me and I did see his ire once but not at me.


Another view wrote:

Moes Tavern tells a funny story that when he first met Andy Norman that he was, in his words, both scared and in awe of Andy.
When Andy paid him after the meet, he noticed that their contract read only numbers and not referring to dollars or pounds. He told Andy that since they were in England he assumed that his athletes would be paid in pounds which would double their fees. Andy stopped and asked if he knew how many agents had been stupid enough to try that trick on him. Troy laughed it off and said it was worth the try. Andy then asked him where he was going next and and when he said Italy, Andy threatened to call the Italian meet promoter to have him paid in Italian lire so that a $2,000 athlete would get like 10 bucks or so. Troy joked that no dollars would be fine.
He said Andy even laughed and Troy asked him how many others had tried that and Andy said "only you." Troy said Andy always treated him well after that.
ukathleticscoach
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 3:26PM - in reply to rojo Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Here is the race:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShMiVXUMaUc

There are several factual errors by Ikem and the writer of the article. Ikem was behind at 600m never mind on the last bend and looked like he struggled to beat Morrell to me. The article states Billy was unbeaten by a Brit runner that year. Tom McKean hammered him in July also at Crystal Palace (Power of 10) You would think a Scots paper would get that right! Just checked and Morrell beat Billy twice over 800m in 89, did they pay him to lose as well!

It also mentions Coe not being in shape and only once running under 1:45. Yes low 1:43 2 wks before! I don't doubt Norman as dishonest but was he stupid enough to pay Ikem $10k who did not beat 1:45 all year to lose to a runner of Coe's calibre in 1:43 shape!

http://www.thepowerof10.info/athletes/profile.aspx?athleteid=38712

http://www.thepowerof10.info/athletes/profile.aspx?athleteid=1987
Running on Empathy
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 3:28PM - in reply to rojo Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

rojo wrote:

I'm assuming people have seen our QOD for today where former 1:44 800 runner Ikem Billy says he was paid $10,000 by Norman to lose a race to Coe.




I'll need to watch the video, but there's no way such a claim could be objectively supported unless it was blatantly apparent that Billy let up during the race. Not saying it didn't happen, but such claims can be hard to prove or disprove given the financial sleight-of-hand from that era.

I've read similar claims that Ovett let Coe win the Moscow 1500 ....
Moronic
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 3:46PM - in reply to Ego as big as a house Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Ego as big as a house wrote:

Andy, Nasty bad man, corrupt to the core.




There's a well known Australian coach who I only ever heard use the term 'a bit of a dill' (Aussie slang for an idiot/stupid person) when describing someone in a derogatory way. Except for Andy Norman, he described him as an arsehole.
Optional extras
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 3:46PM - in reply to ukathleticscoach Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
That race never looked fixed he was not even in contact to win it..
deanouk
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 6:17PM - in reply to The Perfect Distance Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
The whole article and claims by Billy are littered with inaccuracies and simply smack of some nobody trying to get some money and kudos in the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics by making accusations linked to Seb Coe.

I have read a lot about Norman and he is almost universally disliked and seen as corrupt. If a British athlete got on the wrong side of him he could make it very difficult for them to compete on the European circuit. He was involved closely with Ovett in his (Ovett's) peak years and could use his influence to determine who was in the race and which races were run. Norman was responsible for setting up a Mile race at the 11th hour in Koblenz 81, as Coe had just broken Ovett's Mile WR a few days earlier. Ovett was down to run a 1500 there against Scott, but at the last minute they added a Mile to the programme also. Scott was apparently quite peeved, but went on to run and win the 1500 in 3:31.96, a US record at the time.

Even Coe was not exempt from Norman's influence, especially in the early part of his career. Coe ran and broke his first 1st WR in Oslo 79, despite not having permission to run there at the time. In 81, Coe could only get permission to run in a certain number of European circuit races, by agreeing to run a set number of races in the UK organised by Norman. He ran in 6 international matches in the UK that year as well as twice for Britain in the European Cup. Ovett had far more of a free rein to run where and when he pleased without any fear of repercussion.

Also in 81, Coe, who was originally down to run an 800, tried to get into the field for the Dream Mile in Oslo, in which Ovett was running. He was told he could not by Andy Norman, who promised they would meet later that season in the Brussels Golden Mile instead. Coe subsequently ran a 1000m there and broke the WR. Years later Norman claimed (and was quoted) that Ovett had not wanted to race Coe in Oslo, although Ovett said it was all down to Norman. A few days before the Brussels Mile, with everyone expecting a Coe/Ovett clash, Ovett pulled out of the meet and ran a 1:47 800 in Norway the day after instead. This was either in "The Perfect Distance" or Coe's biography from 1992.

I have also heard claims that Norman even had influence over the rabbits chosen for Coe's races and that in some cases told them to hinder rather than help in his world record attempts. This particularly applies to James Robinson, who gave Coe a 51.5 and 1:47.4 in July 81 for his 1500m WR attempt, but the next month was able to give Ovett a 56 and 1:53 in his Mile WR!

Getting back to Billy's claims. For a start his fastest 800 that year was only 1:45.27 when coming 5th at Crystal Palace in July. His career pb of 1:44.65 went back to 84.
In the 3 weeks prior to his race with Coe at the Palace, Coe had run the 2nd fastest 800 of the year, 1:43.38 and had almost won the World Cup 1500 title, narrowly beaten by the then World Champion, Abdi Bile, after a push on the last bend. So while not at his vintage best, he was still one of the very best in the world and almost 2 secs faster than Billy.
Moreover, the comment that Ikem Billy had been unbeaten by a Brit all season is also untrue. He had already been beaten by Coe himself in Rovereto in July that year. In fact Billy only beat Coe once in his career and that was in the final of the 1990 Commonwealth Games where he finished 5th, one place above Coe who was suffering from a chest infection and told not to run.
Stating the obvious
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/1/2013 9:57PM - in reply to deanouk Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I still think that the games played to prevent these Ovett ad Coe from racing each other over the years and keep their precious streaks and record was pathetic and robbed fans of the sport. I mean they live on the same island and never seemed to be in any of the same races. Did Scott and Maree do this? Did Ryun and Keino?
They were both great runners but could have been greater if they actually faced their competition instead of ducking it.
ukathleticscoach
RE: Was the Ovett-Coe era manipulated by Andy Norman? 1/2/2013 3:48AM - in reply to Stating the obvious Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Part of the ducking was down to money from TV companies. They would pay big money for the rights to show the race if a world record was set

In the same book Coe said when asked if it was ok to put Ovett in his race. You can but if you want a world record you can forget it, I'm not setting the pace for some guy to leech off me and win in the last 100 yards

It was a pity they didn't race more often but it did keep the interest alive. Look at the Cram mile WR people hardly noticed Cram was in the same race. That is also part of the problem you really want both runners sprinting neck and neck for victory in the home straight. That seldom happens that they are both in top shape at the same time but its still a big pity you never got Coe/ Ovett both running there best race at the same time which more frequent races may have given

As for Norman the worst I read again from the Perfect Distance is that he was fixing the drug tests for the Crystal Palace meet by 'taking care' of all the samples himself
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