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Chris Brasher

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameChristopher William "Chris"•Brasher
Used nameChris•Brasher
Born21 August 1928 in Georgetown (GUY)
Died28 February 2003 in Chaddleworth, West Berkshire, England (GBR)
AffiliationsAchilles Club, (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


Before the 1956 Olympics, Chris Brasher, who was educated at Rugby and St John’s College, Cambridge, had enjoyed a long track career, winning the 3 miles for Cambridge against Oxford in 1950 and the 5,000 metres in the World Student Games in 1951. It was in 1951 that he made his debut as a steeplechaser and he did well to reach the Olympic final the following year. At the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games he competed for England and was eliminated in the heats of the 1 mile event. In 1955 he represented Britain in three of their five international matches, finishing second to John Disley on each occasion, and in 1956 he clinched the place in the Olympic team with a personal best of 8 minutes 47.2 seconds in the match against Czechoslovakia when he was again second to John Disley. With Disley, Brasher, and Eric Shirley all qualifying for the Olympic final, British hopes ran high in Melbourne with Brasher perhaps the least fancied of the three. But from 300 metres out, Brasher launched an unanswerable attack and came home the winner with 12 metres to spare in 8 minutes 41.2 seconds, a new British and Olympic record. However, some hours were to pass before he received his gold medal as he had to survive a protest that he had impeded the Norwegian Ernst Larsen.

After the Melbourne Olympics, Chris Brasher retired from athletics and from his job with Mobil Oil to take up the post of Sports Editor of the Observer which had been offered to him before the Games. In 1961 he joined the BBC as a reporter on the Tonight program and in 1969 was appointed head of General Features, Television, but he did not renew his contract in 1972. In later years he was the organizer of the hugely successful London Marathon. Chris married the lawn tennis player Shirley Bloomer, winner of the 1957 French Open singles and doubles and the 1958 French mixed doubles, and their daughter was also a successful tournament player.

Personal Best(s): 1500 – 3:53.6 (1954); Mile – 4:06.8 (1955); 3000 – 8:15.4 (1955); 2 miles – 8:45.6 (1956); 3000S – 8:41.2 (1956).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1952 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Chris Brasher
3,000 metres Steeplechase, Men (Olympic) 11
1956 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Chris Brasher
3,000 metres Steeplechase, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold