John Walker Interview
By Christopher Kelsall, Athletics Illustrated
Sir John Walker of New Zealand was the greatest middle-distance runner of his era and had few peers during the eras that followed. Although there were great competitors during his time like Sebastion Coe, Eamonn Coghlan, Steve Cram, Steve Ovett and Filbert Bayi, for example, none established the consistency and longevity that Walker did. Some might argue that Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco was better, based soley on his ever-so-slightly faster personal best performances over the same distances; however, they competed under very different conditions.
During two different generations they both won Olympic gold medals that happened 28 years apart. El Guerrouj was a product of professionalism and was a highly-supported athlete by a well-oiled national athletics machine, whereas Walker’s career existed mostly in the amatuer period, with little to no outside support. Their training was very similar as were their results, but Walker’s career was much longer than El Guerrouj’s.
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