Steve Backley OBE

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As a kid I said 'I want to do that', whether it's inside or outside of sport says the Olympic javelin thrower.

The mind is a powerful tool


Steve Backley, OBE



12 February 1969


  • Olympic Games - 1 Bronze (1992), 2 Silver (1996 & 2000)
  • Won the European Championships on four occasions (1990, 1994, 1998 & 2002).
  • Won Commonwealth Games three times (1990, 1994 & 2002). 2nd in 1998.
  • Awarded an OBE in 2002.

I found the psyche of preparation effective, back in the Olympics in 1996. I'd been on crutches for six weeks - about three months out from the games and I thought I had no chance. I did a lot of what are called visualisation techniques.

The ultimate result was that I was second with a very good throw. It proved to me how powerful a tool the mind is and how the body just follows it. That's what I like about the championships, it's not only about the physical tests. There are 8, 10 guys, certainly in javelin, capable of throwing the distance necessary to win, but it's the one who handles the pressures of a major championship better than the others who will win.

Take that first step

It's a dream for me. As a kid I said 'I want to do that', whether it's inside or outside of sport. If there's something you decide you want to do - that's the first step, and then you go on a journey to find out how exactly you go about that. It's the desire that keeps you on the right path to find the best result - it's a bit of a game - or a bit of a jigsaw, you've got to work it out.

Respond to what you enjoy

Did you know?

Steve is the first British athlete to have won medals in three consecutive Olympic Games, and the first to have won four consecutive European gold medals.

For me, I love competing. Whether it's throwing or just silly little games - I just love competing with my mates, and have done back to school days. I love the Olympic arena because that's the ultimate place. Put people in that white-heat of competition and that's pretty much what sport is all about.

Pressure is just a test

You've got to put people under pressure to find out what they're made of. The Olympics is a very difficult stage to perform on because you're so controlled - how to stand, how to sit, when to throw, when not to throw. It's dealing with those sort of circumstances which might be uncomfortable for some people. They do prod you and poke you around and you get to find out what's really in there.

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