We continue our look at British athletes who made the podium at the European Indoor Championships from 1976 to 1985

Here we cover all British successes from 1976 to 1985 when the European Indoor Championships importance greatly varied and occasionally only a few athletes would be selected.

For 1966-1975 CLICK HERE

For 1986-1998 CLICK HERE

For 2000-2019 CLICK HERE

In our member-only Clubhouse there are articles on the most successful women at the European Indoor Championships and the greatest male athletes at the events.

1976: Munich, February 20-21 (GB: 1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze)

Gold: Geoff Capes Shot 20.64m
Though tired from a US tour and suffering from a damaged finger he dominated the event opening the event with a 20.43m but the gold medal throw came in the fifth round.

He had the day’s three best throws and Gerd Lochman of the GDR was second with 20.29m.

Other medallists:
Berwyn Price 60m hurdles silver 7.80 (V Myasnikov 7.78)
Ray Smedley 3000m bronze 8:02.2 (1 I Sensburg 8:01.6)
Sonia Lannaman 60m silver 7.25 (1st L Haglund 7.24)

1977 San Sebastian, March 12-13 (GB: 3, 2, 0)

Gold: Mary Stewart 1500m, 4:09.4
Her brothers Peter and Ian had already won gold at 3000m and full of confidence after a recent world record of 4:08.1 she joined her siblings as a champion.

Roumyana Chavdarova led through 400m in 67.0. and 800m in 2:14.0 and 1000m in 2:48.8 with Stewart going ahead at 1100m and then accelerating away over the last two laps which she covered in 63 seconds to repel the challenge of Vesela Yatsinska (4:10.0), who ran a 1:58 800m a few years later.

Mary Stewart (pic: Mark Shearman)

Gold: Jane Colebrook 800m 2:01.1
In her first big international event, this was the least expected success even though she had the fastest pre Games time of 2:02.5 being the smallest and least experienced athlete in the line-up. She only got through to the final as a fastest loser after finishing third in her heat in 2:03.2.

In the final she stayed back out of trouble as Svetlana Strykina blasted the first lap in 27.5 and was through 400m in 57.66. Colebrook was fourth at the bell but moved up to third along the final back-straight and then sprinting past her rivals in the finishing straight to gain a narrow and exciting win over Totka Petrova (2:01.2) and 1977 champion Elzbieta Katolik (2:01.3) and Styrkina (2:01.4).

Her time equalled the world indoor record and matched the 1964 Olympic winning time of Ann Packer.

Gold: Sebastian Coe 800m 1:46.5 (main image, above)
The Briton in his first senior championships and until this point thought of as more of a 1500m runner, won his heat and semi final in 1:50.5 and 1:48.2 respectively.

Because he was concerned about getting pushed, he blasted the first 200m in 24.9 and was through 400m in 51.37 (26.5 for his second lap). He kept the pressure up through 600m in 78.9 (27.5 lap) and East German Erwin Gohlke looked dangerous but the Briton held his form well and covering the last lap in 27.4, he eased away from his rival (1:47.2) to win by five metres.

His time of 1:46.5 just missed Carlo Grippo’s 1:46.4 world record.but took a second off his British and Commonwealth record.

It completed a glorious spell for the British team as they won three top class gold medals in just 20 minutes.

Other medallists:
Geoff Capes Shot bronze 20.11m (R Stahlberg 20.48m)
Sue Reeve (nee Scott) Long Jump bronze 6.48m (J Nygrynova 6.62m)

Geoff Capes (pic: Mark Shearman)

1978: Milan, March 11-12 (GB: 0, 2, 1)

There were three medals, two to two of Britain’s most successful ever indoor competitors but Keith Connor gained Britain’s first ever triple jump medal.

Other medallists:
Keith Connor Triple jump silver 16.53m (A Piskulin 16.82m)
Geoff Capes Shot silver 20.46m (H Halldorsson 20.59m)
Verona Elder 400m silver 52.75 (M Koch 51.14)

1979: Vienna, February 24-25 (GB; 1, 1, 2)

Gold: Verona Elder 400m 51.80
Elder confirmed her position as Britain’s most successful ever indoor female performer when she won her third title.

Competing in her 50th international she only made the final as a fastest loser when Barbara Krug beat her in the heat. And she went into the final as the slowest of the four qualifiers on paper.

Austria’s Karoline Kafer, inspired by the home crowd, blasted through 200m in a seemingly suicidal 23.92 two metres up on Jarmila Kratochvilova with Elder holding back in third in 24.6 a few metres up on Krug, hoping that her 800m training – she had finished 6th in the championships in the longer event the previous year – would pay off.

The positions remained the same at 300m but gradually Kafer faded as they hit the final straight and the Czech athlete edged by only for a relatively fast finishing Elder to pass the two and win with her final stride and win in a British record 51.80 which moved her to second all-time behind the great Marita Koch’s 51.14 in winning this race in 1977 ahead of Elder.

Kratochvilova (looking about half the size she did when winning double world gold in 1983) was second in 51.81 and Kafer third in 51.90.

Vernona Elder (pic: Mark Shearman)

Other medallists:
John Robson 1500m bronze 3:42.8 (E Coghlan 3:41.8)
Geoff Capes Shot silver 20.23 (R Stahlberg 20.47)
Judy Oakes Shot bronze 15.66 (I Slupaniek 21.01)

1980, Sindelfingen, March 1-2 (GB: 0, 0, 1)

Britain only fielded a team of 4 and won no gold medals but Liz Barnes gained a bronze.

Other medallists:
Liz Barnes 800m bronze 2:01.5 (J Januchta 2:00.6)

1981, Grenoble, February 21-22 (GB: 0, 0, 2)

Again Britain failed to win a gold but did win two medals through Aston Moore and Elder.

Other medallists:
Verona Elder 400m bronze 52.37 (J Kratochvilova 50.07)
Aston Moore Triple jump bronze 16.73m (S Abbyasov 17.30m)

1982, Milan, March 6-7 (GB: 0, 0, 2)

For the third Championships running there were no British gold medals but Wendy Hoyte and Paula Fudge gained bronzes.

Other medallists:
Wendy Hoyte 60m bronze 7.27 (M Gohr 7.11)
Paula Fudge 3000m bronze 8:56.96 (A Possamai 8:53.77)

1983: Budapest, March 5-6 (GB: 0, 3, 0)

Still no titles but three silvers was a big advance on the previous three championships.

Other medallists:
Ainsley Bennett 400m silver 46.43 (Y Lomtev 46.20)
Peter Elliott 800m silver 1:47.58 (C Trabado 1:46.91)
Joan Baptiste 200m silver 23.37 (M Koch 22.39)

1984: Gothenburg, March 3-4 (GB: 2, 1, 1)

Gold: Bev Kinch 60m 7.16 (UK record)
There were doubts over her fitness when in her first race since mid-January she did not impress finishing second in her heat in 7.26.

In the final though the 20-year-old with more of a reputation as a long-jumper, dominated the race winning clearly from Anelia Nuneva (7.23) and a then young Nelli Cooman (7.23). Her time took a hundredth of a second off Lynch’s 1975 UK record.

Gold: Sue Hearnshaw Long Jump 6.70m (UK record)
The standard was not great as 6.08m won a bronze medal but the Briton, who won four medals in the BMAF Indoor Championships last year, was in magnificent form.

She had the four best jumps of the competition – all at 6.62m or better – and easily defeated defending champion Eva Murkova, a 6.92m jumper, who here could only manage 6.55m.

Other medallists:
Ade Mafe 200m silver 21.34 (A Yevgeniev 20.98)
Phil Norgate 800m bronze 1:48.39 (D Sabia 1:48.05)

1985: Athens, March 2-3 (GB: 3, 0, 2)

Gold: Mike McFarlane 60m 6.61 (UK record)
McFarlane, who had not ventured indoors for seven years and failed to win the AAA title made up for lost time. In his semi final he set a British record 6.63 though lost to British title winner Ronald Desruelles’s 6.62 .

In the final he got a good start, held off an early challenge from Antonio Ullo and then resisted a late charge from Antione Richard to clearly defeat the Frenchman (6.63).

It was the British men’s first gold medal since Coe in 1977.

Gold: Todd Bennett 400m 45.56 (world record)
World record-holder Thomas Schonlebe was absent but the Briton proved that to be an irrelevance as he took 0.04 of a second off of the East German’s record.

He dominated the race from the off passing 200m in 21.7 and 300m in 33.1 and winning by three metres from Klaus Just (45.90).

Gold: Rob Harrison 800m 1:49.09
In an era of the likes of Coe, Cram, Ovett and Elliott, Harrison did not get as much championship action such a quality performer deserves but he made the most of his opportunity here.

A poor heat where he only qualified as a fastest loser was followed by a semi final win in an indoor PB 1:47.72.

In the final he stayed at the shoulder of the leader as 400m was passed in 55.94 and then made his move 130 metres out to complete a 25.5 final 200 metres.
He won by nearly three metres from Romanian Petru Dragoescu (1:49.38).

Other medallists:
Heather Oakes 60m bronze 7.22 (N Cooman 7.10)
Yvonne Murray 3000m bronze 9:00.94 (A Possemai 8:55.25)

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