Colin Ray Jackson, sprint and hurdling athlete who specialised in the 110 metres hurdles. During a career in which he represented Great Britain and Wales, he won an Olympic silver medal, became world champion twice, World indoor champion once, went undefeated at the European Championships for 12 years and was a two-time Commonwealth champion. His world record of 12.91 seconds for the 110m hurdles stood for over a decade and his 60 metres hurdles world record stood for nearly 27 years.(born 18 February 1967) is a Welsh former
Jackson won his first major medal, a silver, in the 110 m hurdles, aged nineteen at the 1986 Commonwealth Games. He soon established himself on the global scene, taking bronze at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics and a silver medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics. After winning another silver in the 60 metres hurdles at the 1989 IAAF World Indoor Championships, he won European and Commonwealth gold medals in 1990. The 1993 season saw him reach the pinnacle of his sport: after a silver at the 1993 Indoor Worlds, he went on to set a world record of 12.91 seconds to become the 1993 World Champion. This mark was unbeaten for almost thirteen years and remains the world championship record. Jackson also helped the British 4×100 metres relay team to the world silver medal.
This period was perhaps Jackson's most successful – he had a streak of 44 races undefeated between 1993 and 1995. In addition to European and Commonwealth golds outdoors in 1994, he set another world record, running 7.30 seconds in the 60 m hurdles. A double gold at the 1994 European Athletics Indoor Championships in the 60 m hurdles and sprint events saw him set a European record of 6.49 seconds over 60 metres. Injury affected his 1995–1996 seasons and he finished only fourth at the 1996 Olympics. He returned to the global podium in 1997 but took silver twice – behind Anier García at the Indoor World Championships and Allen Johnson in the World Outdoors. After winning the European Championships for a third consecutive time in 1998 he became world champion indoors and out in 1999. He finished fifth at the 2000 Summer Olympics and his last major medals came in 2002, taking European indoor and outdoor gold and a Commonwealth silver.
After a period of sports management and coaching, he now works as a sports commentator for athletics and television presenter (predominantly for the BBC). He is a well-known known face on British television, having been on Strictly Come Dancing in 2005, as well as a number of other entertainment and factual TV programmes.
Jackson, born in Cardiff, South Wales, is of Jamaican Maroon, Taíno, and Scottish ancestry. He is the brother of actress Suzanne Packer who played Tess Bateman in the BBC One hospital drama Casualty. Jackson grew up in Birchgrove, attending Springwood Primary School and then Llanedeyrn High School. He played football and cricket for the county and rugby union and basketball for his school and joined the athletics club Birchgrove Harriers, which nurtured his talent. As captain of his school cricket team, he and four team-mates were invited to trials for the Welsh national cricket team: whilst his team-mates were all picked, Jackson was passed over – he attributed this to racism, and has said it resulted in him quitting the sport and focusing on athletics, as "athletics had more people that looked like me". Jackson has also stated he felt discriminated against by British Athletics for selections and sponsorship. He said: "I felt the discrimination was because I was Welsh more than anything else."
Under coach and close friend Malcolm Arnold, Jackson started out as a promising decathlete before switching to high hurdles. He won gold at the 1986 World Junior Championships and he soon switched to the senior ranks. Following a silver medal in the 1986 Commonwealth Games, he won the 110m hurdles silver at the 1988 Olympic Games behind Roger Kingdom. Although his career as an active competitor in the event would last a further fifteen years, the last ten of these as world record holder, and see him twice crowned World Champion, twice Commonwealth Champion and four times European Champion, this would remain his only Olympic medal of any colour. In 1992 he eased through his first round heat in 13.10 s (which proved faster than the Gold-medal winning time) but was restricted by an injury he picked up during the next round and could only finish seventh in the final, and in 1996 he came fourth and in 2000, fifth.
He set his world record for the 110 metres hurdles on 20 August 1993, winning his first World Championships gold medal in Stuttgart, Germany in 12.91 s. The new mark (also a championship record) shaved 0.01 s off the previous record held by Kingdom and stood for nearly thirteen years, only being equalled by Liu Xiang in the 2004 Summer Olympics and finally beaten by the same man on 11 July 2006 at the Super Grand Prix in Lausanne with a time of 12.88 s. However, Jackson remains sole holder of the indoor world record at the 60 metres hurdles with a time of 7.30 seconds set in Sindelfingen, Germany on 6 March 1994. At the 1994 European Indoor Championships he became a double European champion: winning in both the 60 metres hurdles and 60 metres sprint race as well. His 60 m dash time of 6.49 s was a European record, as well as a championship record. These records remained unbeaten for 5 years, when Jason Gardener ran 6.46 s in 1999 in Maebashi, Japan.
The aforementioned achievements coincided with one of the high points of Jackson's career: he was unbeaten between 29 August 1993 and 9 February 1995. He won forty-four races consecutively in this period. His winning time at the 1994 Commonwealth Games was a Commonwealth Games record.
Jackson was a master of the "dip" – the skill of leaning forward at the end of a race to advance the position of the shoulders and improve times (and potentially positions). He was also renowned for being a particularly fast starter, which led to a great deal of success in 60m events. Jackson's technical hurdling ability distinguished him from his peers whether they were faster than him or not.
He was the subject of controversy in 1998 when he decided to run for cash in Tokyo, Japan, rather than compete in the Commonwealth Games for Wales.
Six years after his first world title, Jackson regained his 110m hurdles crown at the 1999 Seville World Championships. This was to be his last gold medal at the very highest level, but he added a final, fourth successive European Championships gold in the 2002 Munich European Championships, extending an unbroken reign as European Champion stretching back to 1990.
Since ending his athletics career at the 2003 World Indoor Championships Jackson has been involved in numerous endeavours, in athletics and other areas. He coached his close friend the swimmer Mark Foster until Foster's retirement in April 2016. He has coached two of Wales best Olympic prospects, 400m runner Timothy Benjamin and 400m hurdler Rhys Williams. He was also one of the members of the successful London 2012 Olympic bid team and is a key member of the BBC's televisions athletics coverage. However, he started his broadcasting career in 2004 by co-hosting, with Sally Gunnell, the BBC reality TV programme Born to Win.
Jackson has written three books: the first, The Young Track and Field Athlete, was published in March 1996 by Dorling Kindersley; his second, Colin Jackson: The Autobiography, was published in April 2004 by BBC Books; and his last, Life's New Hurdles, was published in March 2008 by Accent Press Ltd as part of the Quick Reads Initiative.
After retiring from athletics, he became the face of BBC Raise Your Game with Colin Jackson in which he talked to high-profile international stars about the importance of learning. Participants included Luol Deng, Jenson Button, Davina McCall, and stars from Strictly Come Dancing, to name but a few.
Jackson, who is of Jamaican descent, was the subject of an episode of the BBC TV genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?, broadcast in the UK on 20 September 2006. Genetic tests showed his ancestry to be 55% African, 7% Native American (believed to be from Jamaican Maroon ancestry on his father's side), and 38% European. His mother was born in Panama, the daughter of Richard Augustus Packer and Gladys McGowan Campbell. Gladys Campbell was from Jamaica, the daughter of a Scottish man Duncan Campbell and his housemaid Albertina Wallace.
Colin Jackson appeared in the BBC One documentary The Making of Me on 31 July 2008, which attempted to find out what had made him such a talented athlete. A sample of his leg muscle showed that he had 25% super-fast twitch fibres, when all previous athletes tested had only 2%. Family support was also thought to have been highly significant. Jamaicans are notable[according to whom?] for the high level of support and encouragement they give their children in the area of sports. One clip showed a stadium in Jamaica with 30,000 people cheering on children taking part in an average school sports meet. Supporters included their peers, who seemed happy to cheer on their classmates who were 'good at sports'. Although Jackson was brought up in the UK, he remembers his parents cheering on Don Quarrie in the 1976 Olympics, inspiring him to want to 'be like that'.
In 2009 Jackson shared his writing tips on the adult learning website "BBC raw words". He features in a comedy short with Nina Wadia, Rowland Rivron and Anneka Rice about structuring a story, and also shares his writing tips gained from writing Life's New Hurdles.
In February 2019 Jackson was inaugurated as a Chancellor of Wrexham Glyndwr University, after being awarded with an Honorary Fellowship in 2016 for his contribution to sport.
Strictly Come Dancing
In 2005, he appeared as one of the celebrity contestants on the BBC TV series Strictly Come Dancing, where he came second with his dance partner Erin Boag, just losing out to cricketer Darren Gough. In 2006 Jackson became the first competitor who had not won the main series to win the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.
Go Dad Run
In 2013 Jackson created his own charitable fundraising event for men, Go Dad Run. The purpose is to raise awareness of men's health issues and funds for male based charities Prostate Cancer UK, Bowel Cancer UK, Orchid and CALM plus local Cancer Care charities and hospices. Ambassadors include Mark Foster, Donovan Bailey, Suzanne Packer, Fernando Montano, Siân Lloyd and Jamie Baulch.
Sport 4 Kids
Jackson holds special responsibilities for developing the S4K brand and help the mission to transform children's sport across the UK and international markets through the company's franchise network.
Iaith ar Daith
In 2020 Jackson joined other celebrities in a new S4C television series called Iaith ar Daith ('Language Road Trip') in which they take a crash course in the Welsh language while travelling around Wales. At the end of the series he was interviewed in Welsh. The series was broadcast in April 2020. An extra episode, Iaith ar Daith ‘Dolig ('Language Road Trip: Christmas') was broadcast at the end of 2020, interviewing each of the celebrities about whether they were still making use of their Welsh and the opportunities they had had to use Welsh during lockdown.
Dancing on Ice
|Representing Great Britain and Wales|
|1985||European Indoor Championships||Piraeus, Greece||10th (sf)||60 m hurdles||7.85|
|European Junior Championships||Cottbus, East Germany||2nd||110 m hurdles||13.69|
|1986||World Junior Championships||Athens, Greece||1st||110 m hurdles||13.44|
|Commonwealth Games||Edinburgh, United Kingdom||2nd||110 m hurdles||13.42|
|1987||European Indoor Championships||Liévin, France||2nd||60 m hurdles||7.63|
|World Indoor Championships||Indianapolis, United States||4th||60 m hurdles||7.68|
|World Championships||Rome, Italy||3rd||110 m hurdles||13.38|
|1988||Olympic Games||Seoul, South Korea||2nd||110 m hurdles||13.28|
|1989||European Indoor Championships||The Hague (Netherlands)||1st||60 m hurdles||7.59|
|World Indoor Championships||Budapest, Hungary||2nd||60 m hurdles||7.45|
|World Cup||Barcelona, Spain||2nd||110 m hurdles||12.95 (w)|
|1990||Commonwealth Games||Auckland, New Zealand||1st||110 m hurdles||13.08|
|European Championships||Split, Yugoslavia||1st||110 m hurdles||13.18|
|1991||World Championships||Tokyo, Japan||2nd (h)||110 m hurdles||13.251|
|1992||Olympic Games||Barcelona, Spain||7th||110 m hurdles||13.46|
|World Cup||Havana, Cuba||1st||110 m hurdles||13.07|
|1993||World Indoor Championships||Toronto, Canada||2nd||60 m hurdles||7.43|
|World Championships||Stuttgart, Germany||1st||110 m hurdles||12.91|
|2nd||4 × 100 m relay||37.77|
|1994||European Indoor Championships||Paris, France||1st||60 m||6.49|
|1st||60 m hurdles||7.41|
|Goodwill Games||St. Petersburg, Russia||1st||110 m hurdles||13.29|
|Commonwealth Games||Victoria, Canada||1st||110 m hurdles||13.08|
|European Championships||Helsinki, Finland||1st||110 m hurdles||13.08|
|1996||Olympic Games||Atlanta, United States||4th||110 m hurdles||13.19|
|1997||World Indoor Championships||Paris, France||2nd||60 m hurdles||7.49|
|World Championships||Athens, Greece||2nd||110 m hurdles||13.05|
|1998||Goodwill Games||Uniondale, United States||4th||110 m hurdles||13.17|
|European Championships||Budapest, Hungary||1st||110 m hurdles||13.02|
|World Cup||Johannesburg, South Africa||2nd||110 m hurdles||13.11|
|1999||World Indoor Championships||Maebashi, Japan||1st||60 m hurdles||7.38|
|World Championships||Seville, Spain||1st||110 m hurdles||13.04|
|2000||Olympic Games||Sydney, Australia||5th||110 m hurdles||13.28|
|2001||Goodwill Games||Brisbane, Australia||5th||110 m hurdles||13.63|
|2002||European Indoor Championships||Vienna, Austria||1st||60 m hurdles||7.40|
|Commonwealth Games||Manchester, United Kingdom||2nd||110 m hurdles||13.39|
|European Championships||Munich, Germany||1st||110 m hurdles||13.11|
|2003||World Indoor Championships||Birmingham, United Kingdom||5th||60 m hurdles||7.61|
1Did not start in the semifinals
- 110 metres hurdles – 12.91 sec (1993), former world record and current European record
- 200 metres hurdles – 22.63 sec (1991)
- 100 metres – 10.29 sec (1990)
- 200 metres – 21.19 sec (1988)
- High jump – 1.81 m (5 ft 11+1⁄4 in) (1982)
- Long jump – 7.56 m (24 ft 9+1⁄2 in) (1985)
- 50 metres hurdles – 6.40 sec (1999), current British record
- 60 metres hurdles – 7.30 sec (1994), former world record
- 110 metres hurdles – 13.40 sec (2003)
- 60 metres – 6.49 sec (1994), former European record
- All information from IAAF profile.
- Richard Dale; Colin Cameron (August 1994). The contenders. Boxtree. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-7522-0948-7.
- 60 Metres Hurdles Records. IAAF (24 February 2021). Retrieved on 24 February 2021.
- Who Do You Think You Are – Colin Jackson. BBC Sport. Retrieved on 18 June 2009.
- McGregor, Nesta (27 June 2020). "'Change is coming' - Tommie Smith backs sports stars making anti-racism stand". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
- "Colin Jackson: "The discrimination [I felt] was actually because I was Welsh..."". BBC. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
- Cram, Steve (2001). Colin Jackson captures the world record. BBC Sport. Retrieved on 1 September 2009.
- "BBC SPORT | Athletics | Jackson receives CBE". BBC News. 10 December 2003. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "Join the Wings for Life World Run, May 6, 2018". www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com. Archived from the original on 6 April 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
- "Colin Jackson to be Wrexham Glyndwr University chancellor". BBC News. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
- "BBC - World Athletics Championships - BBC commentators - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.
- "BBC ONE Autumn 2006". BBC. 18 July 2006.
- Nick Barratt, WDYTYA? Series three: Celebrity gallery – Colin Jackson, BBC History, 20 September 2006, accessed 27 September 2006
- "BBC One – The Making of Me, Colin Jackson". Bbc.co.uk. 22 August 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "Colin Jackson is university chancellor". BBC News. 15 February 2019.
- Jones, Steve (20 September 2016). "World Champion And Former Olympic Medalist Colin Jackson Joins Sport4Kids" – via Sports 4 Kids.
- Jones, Steve (20 September 2016). "Colin Jackson Joins Sport4Kids" – via Sports 4 Kids.
- "Colin Jackson jumps at the chance of learning Welsh". S4C. 31 January 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- Lucinda Reid (13 April 2020). "Meet the celebrities learning Welsh". WalesOnline. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- "Iaith ar Daith 'Dolig" [Language Road Trip: Christmas]. Boom Cymru. Archived from the original on 31 January 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- Davies, Caroline (28 August 2017). "Olympic medallist Colin Jackson announces he is gay". The Guardian.
- "Colin Jackson: Phenomenal athlete who came out at 50". The Guardian. 2 September 2017.
- Colin Jackson. IAAF. Retrieved on 26 July 2014.
- Colin Jackson: The Autobiography (BBC Books, 2003)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Colin Jackson.|
- Colin Jackson at World Athletics
- Colin Jackson at Power of 10
- Biography at British Olympic Association
- BBC Hall of Fame profile
- Speaker profile of Colin Jackson
- Agent's biography
- Sunday Morning with Colin Jackson and Suzanne Packer (BBC Radio Wales)
| Men's 110 m Hurdles World Record Holder
20 August 1993 – 11 July 2006
| Men's 110 m Hurdles European Record Holder
20 August 1993 – present
| Men's 60 m Hurdles Indoor World Record Holder
6 March 1994 – 24 February 2021
| Men's European Athlete of the Year
| Men's 110 m Hurdles Best Year Performance
| Men's 110 m Hurdles Best Year Performance