Four times a European champion, three times Commonwealth Games winner and a world record breaker on three occasions, Steve Backley did everything possible in his event except win a global championship title. Much of this was less to do with any frailty of Backley and more to do with the brilliance of Jan Železný with whom he had a friendly rivalry. Already a European junior champion and world junior record holder Backley made an immediate impact on the world scene and was the world’s top ranked thrower in both 1989 and 1990. He was troubled by injury in 1991 but rebounded to produce the first 90 metre throw with the new specification javelin at a meeting in New Zealand in January 1992. Backley was the first Briton to win medals at three successive Olympic Games, winning bronze in 1992 and silver in 1996 and 2000 as Železný won on each occasion. Železný also edged him for the title at the 1995 World Championships though it was South African Marius Corbett who made Backley have to settle for silver in 1997. His farewell season was 2004 where, after sneaking into the final as the last qualifier, he missed a fourth Olympic medal by less than a metre. After retirement he worked as radio commentator and motivational speaker.
Personal Best: JT – 91.46 (1992).