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John Cooper

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 2
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJohn Hugh•Cooper
Used nameJohn•Cooper
Born18 December 1940 in Bromyard, Herefordshire, England (GBR)
Died3 March 1974 in near Paris, Paris (FRA)
Measurements188 cm / 85 kg
AffiliationsBirchfield Harriers, Birmingham (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


John Cooper had success as a triple jumper during his schooldays and did not take up hurdling until 1960. He made steady if not spectacular progress in the early days of the hurdling career but by 1963 he had moved into world class by breaking the 51-second barrier. A further improvement occurred at the Tokyo Olympics and he set national records on all of his three appearances over the hurdles which culminated in a silver medal winning performances behind America’s Rex Cawley. Sadly for Cooper he was never able to capitalize on his Tokyo exploits as injuries dogged his career from then on. He did recover well enough to reach the semi-finals in Mexico City but retired from the sport the following year. Cooper was then recruited by the clothing firm adidas to work as a marketing director. In this capacity he was returning from Paris to London following the annual France-England rugby match when he was killed in the crash of Turkish Airlines Flight 981 which, at the time, was the world’s deadliest air disaster.

Personal Bests: 400 – 47.6 (1964); 400H – 50.1 (1964).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1964 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR John Cooper
400 metres Hurdles, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Great Britain 2 Silver
1968 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR John Cooper
400 metres Hurdles, Men (Olympic) 7 h1 r2/3

Special Notes