Sport broadcaster David Coleman dies age 87

 

Broadcaster David Coleman, the voice of British sport for almost half a century, has died at the age of 87.

The renowned athletics commentator worked for the BBC for 46 years, covering 11 summer Olympic Games, his final one in Sydney in 2000.

He also covered six football World Cups.

His family said in a statement: "We regret to announce the death of David Coleman OBE, after a short illness he died peacefully with his family at his bedside."

Fellow commentator Brendan Foster, the former Olympic 10,000 metres bronze medallist, hailed Coleman as the "greatest sports broadcaster that ever lived".

Foster said on the BBC Sport website: "David enriched so many lives and that was down to his brilliant commentary and presentation at all the major sporting events of the world.

"In my view, everybody had a David Coleman quote they could use. It could have been about Pele, Charlton, Toshack or Keegan, or just 'one-nil'.

"It was a privilege to know him, to have him commentating on races during my career, to work with him and to call him a friend."

Coleman, who was born in Cheshire and joined the BBC in 1954, presented Grandstand and also hosted quiz show A Question Of Sport from 1979 to 1997.

He also became affectionately known for on-air gaffes, giving his name to Private Eye magazine's Colemanballs column of commentators' mistakes.

He was awarded an OBE in 1992 and retired from the BBC in 2000.

Later that year he became the first broadcaster to receive an Olympic Order medal to recognise his contribution to the Olympic movement.

Steve Cram, another athlete turned BBC broadcaster, credited Coleman with helping him in the early stages of his career.

Coleman commentated on many of Cram's races and his tussles for world middle-distance supremacy with fellow Britons Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett.

Cram said: "When I first came into the British team as a youngster, I would watch back my races and I could tell from his commentaries that he knew what he was talking about.

"When I met him at major championships, such as the Olympics in Moscow in 1980, he would say things that turned out to be incredibly helpful, such as advice on travel and how to deal with the media.

"He had a reputation within broadcasting for being tough and demanding, but I always found him an incredibly generous bloke.

"Yes, he had high standards but I think that came from his athletics background. Broadcasting, like athletics, is in a sense about performance and he wanted to produce the best he could. He used to always tell me that I should endeavour to work with the best to get the best results."

Denise Lewis, the 2000 Olympic heptathlon champion, added on Twitter: "All my childhood memories of athletics brought to life & made so vivid by one man, one voice. RIP David Coleman."

Paula Radcliffe, the women's marathon world record holder, said: "RIP David Coleman. A true master in his field and voice to so many of our iconic sporting moments."

British Athletics chairman Ed Warner said: "David has been the voice of some our most memorable moments over the years. A truly iconic broadcaster."

Gary Lineker paid his own tribute.

The Match of the Day host and former England striker wrote on Twitter: "Sad to hear, David Coleman has died. A giant of sports broadcasting. Brilliant, gifted, precise and concise. Much more than 'one-nil' #RIP."

Coleman, whose first Olympics was in Rome in 1960, began presenting Grandstand in 1958 and worked on the magazine programme for 10 years.

In 1971 he became the BBC's senior football commentator, covering five FA Cup finals before handing over to John Motson in 1979.

BBC director-general Tony Hall called Coleman "one of this country's greatest and most respected broadcasters", while the corporation's director of sport Barbara Slater described him as "a giant in the sports broadcasting world, an iconic and hugely respected figure".

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn