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News - 10.06.2013

The return of the Kings: Coe, Ovett and Cram at Bislett

The “British kings of middle distance” will collectively return to Oslo for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century when they gather in Oslo to celebrate the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games on 13th of June. In the late 70s and early 80s Seb Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram were the most recognizable athletes in the world and the most dominant.

The night of 1st August in 1980, was to be a very important night in Bislett history and for British athletics as well. Amidst global media coverage Seb Coe and Steve Ovett both broke world records prior to the Moscow Olympic Games during that spectacular period in time.

Sebastian Coe broke the 1000m world record in what was his third world record at the famous stadium in a little over a year. Moments later, that same evening in the Dream Mile, Steve Ovett nipped two tenths of a second off Coe’s world record that he had established in Oslo the previous year. Also in that race was a 16 year old youngster from the north of England – Steve Cram – who would later go on to create his own moment in the history of Bislett stadium.  

Coe was probably the greatest athlete to have competed in Bislett; he established four world records (800m, Mile and the 1000m on two separate occasions). His name is synonymous with middle distance running and Oslo in particular.

Ovett was a much loved competitor at meetings in the Bislett stadium; he established world records at both 1500m and Mile. He was a huge favourite of the Oslo crowd, who roared approval at his tactical awareness and his familiarity to the fans.

Cram’s towering moment in Oslo came in the 1985 Dream Mile when he thrashed a brilliant field that included Coe and came away with a fantastic world record of 3:46.32. He was a regular competitor in Oslo and is a consistent visitor to Bislett as part of his role with BBC as a sports commentator.   

Seb Coe’s records at Bislett
800m: 1:42.33 05 /07/79
Mile: 3:49.00 17/07/80
1000m: 2:13.40 01/07/80 and 2:12.18 11/07/81

Steve Ovett’s records at Bislett
Mile: 3:48.80  01/07/80
1500m: 3:32.09 15/07/80

Steve Cram’s record at Bislett  
Mile: 3:46.32 27/07/95