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UK Coaching Team
Talent and Performance

Margot Wells: ‘Anyone Can Improve Their Speed’

Elite sprint and fitness coach Margot Wells coached Allan Wells to 100m glory. Tim Hartley discovers that whole body exercise is an element of her coaching practice – and that it’s important to prepare athletes for the tasks they face

Speed is, in so many sports and activities, a vital element of turning the average into good and the good into great. So how did Margot Wells hone Allan Wells’ speed to world-beating levels?

In some sports, the advantage of possessing speed is obvious. The first person to get to the tape 100 metres later is the fastest man or woman, while the rugby winner who can outpace his or her opponent is a crucial component of the team. But in other sports or events, the advantage of speed may be less obvious. Importantly, it is no less important.

“The thing is, anyone, and I do mean anyone, can improve their speed,” stresses Margot Wells.

Among the players and athletes from many different sports that Margot has coached is her husband, Allan Wells. Margot coached him to the greatest speed prize on the planet.

Allan Wells’ sprinting success

Six years before Usain Bolt was even born, Allan Wells was crowned Olympic 100 metres champion, and only just failed in his quest for the sprint double when falling short by 0.02 seconds in the 200 metres.

The Scot went 'under the radar' of many during an athletics era when most of the headlines were centred around the rivalry and records of Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe in the 800 and 1500 metres.

Yet this was the man who won the 100 metres at the Games of 1980, pipping Silvio Leonard by the thickness of his vest, then when the Americans were quick to point out they hadn't been at Moscow due to a boycott, he went out and beat the best that they had too, including a young Carl Lewis.

Wells was the first Briton to win the title since Harold Abrahams in the 'Chariots of Fire' games of 1924, and in many eyes ushered in a generation of quality UK sprinters.

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