• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

From the archive: how Allan Wells won gold in 1982

It was 30 years ago this week when Scotland's Allan Wells beat Ben Johnson to win gold at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games.

Allan Wells beats Ben Johnson to take the 100m Commonwealth Games title
Allan Wells beats Ben Johnson to take the 100m Commonwealth Games title

Wells had already been crowned 100m Olympic champion at the Moscow games in 1980.

However, 1982 had been a difficult year for the talented sprinter who, struggling to fine his form, had only run in five races before competing in the 100m Olympic final.

Yet, despite being behind some of the field at the 60 metre mark, he went into overdrive in the final stretch and managed to snatch a spectacular victory, beating Canadian Johnson with a time of 10.02 seconds.

Johnson later went on to win gold in the 100m at the world championships in Paris in 1985, the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986 and the Olympics in Seoul in 1988. He was later stripped of his 1988 Olympic title after testing positive for drugs.

After the 1982 final, Wells said: “I’m very lucky to be here and to be sitting in the gold medal position. I didn’t believe I could come back this year. I wasn’t ready for this, I was down to the bottom of my boots going to the start, hoping like hell it would come off.

“It’s the first time I have been in tears on the rostrum. Not even the Moscow Olympics was like this. I was in tears for the people back home who had helped me.”

Just three days later Wells, who began sprinting at the age of 24 after a career as a triple and long jumper, jointly took the 200m title after finishing in a dead heat with England’s Mike McFarlane.

Judges spent 25 minutes trying to decide who had crossed the line first but they were eventually forced to award gold to both runners after being unable to separate them.

The finish was reminiscent of the end of the 100m final at the Moscow Olympic Games where Wells and Cuban athlete Silvio Leonard both stopped the clock at 10.26 seconds. On this occasion the title was given to Wells.

After the 200m final the sprinter, who was the defending Commonwealth champion, said: “And I’m disappointed not to get the title outright here.”

Wells retired from sprinting in 1988 at the age of 36. He was an ambassador for the 2012 Olympic and 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games bids and provided some guest commentary during the London event.

Additional Images: 
Contextual targeting label: 
Hobbies and general interest

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

118740