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Athletics heroes

Daley Thompson - England   Daley Thompson - England
Edmonton 1978, Brisbane 1982, Edinburgh 1986

One of the most successful all-round athletes ever. Born in Notting Hill in 1958, Thompson competed in his first decathlon in Wales in 1975. Two years later he won the European junior decathlon championship before picking up the gold at the 1978 Commonwealth Games, along with silver in the European competition the same year.

The nation sat glued to their TV sets as Daley Thompson gained two further gold medals at the 1982 and 1986 Commonwealth Games. He retired from his illustrious career in 1992 with further golds in the European championships, two Olympic golds in 1980 and 1984 (including scoring a world record 8847 points) and a world decathlon championship gold in 1983. A true champion.

Cathy Freeman   Australia   Cathy Freeman Australia
Victoria 1994

Cathy Freeman is a legend, remembered as much for her acts after a race as much as during it (she once carried the aboriginal flag on a victory lap as well as the Australian one, causing outrage from some corners in her country).

In 1994 she became the first athlete in Commonwealth history to win golds in both the 200m and 400m. She was also the first Aboriginal sprinter to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

Injury prevented her from taking part in Kuala Lumpur but now the Aussie hero is gunning for Manchester 2002. Her sporting exploits have touched more than her home nation, so much show she was the athlete chosen to light the Olympic flame in Sydney.

In 1990 she was voted young Australian of the year and Australian of the year in 1998, which are among the highest accolades bestowed on civilians. Cathy Freeman is one in a million, both on the track and off it.

Merlene Ottey   Jamaica   Merlene Ottey Jamaica
Brisbane 1982, Auckland 1990

Merlene Ottey has been listed in the top 10 female sprinters every year since 1980, an almost unbelievable achievement. Over her Commonwealth career Merlene has picked up a total of six medals including three golds, one in 1982 and two more in 1990.

As sprinters go there is nobody else with Ottey's record. She is a modern day phenomenon. Early in 2001 she managed to set the world veteran indoor record over 100m with a time of 11.21 seconds, the third fastest time ever.

Allan Wells   Scotland   Allan Wells Scotland
Edmonton 1978, Brisbane 1982

Allan Wells goes down in Commonwealth history, not for his gold medals of which he won three, but rather the bizarre incident in the 200m final in 1982 where he was jointly awarded gold along with Englishman Mike McFarlane, after even the computers failed to split them in their time of 20.43 seconds.

Between his two Commonwealth successes Wells also managed to win gold in the 100m at the Moscow Olympics, thus ensuring his place in Scottish folklore as one of their most successful athletes ever.

Angela Chalmers   Canada   Angela Chalmers Canada
Auckland 1990, Victoria 1994

Middle distance runner Angela Chalmers won two consecutive Commonwealth golds in 1990 and 1994 at 3000m. In 1994 the games were in here home city of Victoria and she turned in a momentous performances in from of an ecstatic crowd to not only break the Canadian record for the event but also to set a new Commonwealth record and smash her personal best time coming in at 8.32.17 seconds.

Angela is the only woman to successfully defend her 3000 metre title in the history of the Commonwealth Games and it looks likely to remain that was as the event was changed to 5000m at the Kuala Lumpur Games in 1998.

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