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Published on Sep 11, 2011
In one of his very best seasons, 1981, Ovett ran a masterful tactical race for Europe to win the 1500m in the World Cup in Rome. Here, he outkicks Walker, Beyer, Boit, Maree & Kirov, with a last lap of 53.6. He looks very easy for the entire last lap and only really turned it on with about 150m to go. The day before Coe had easily won the 800m at the same meet, and this represented the last time that both were at the top of their game at the same time. Both suffered with injury and illness during the next 2 seasons, and their air of invincibility was tarnished somewhat. As a matter of interest, the World Cup was considered the pre-cursor to the World Championships, which began 2 seasons later in 1983. The quality in depth of athletes attending this 2 day meet in Rome was probably greater than in either the Moscow or Los Angeles Olympics. There was Lewis, Moses, Coe, Ovett, Ashford, Gohr, Koch, Kratochvilova, etc,... all there. I think that the winners at this World Cup were, to all intents and purposes, the first World Champions.