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Andy Norman

Andy Norman, who has died suddenly aged 64, ushered athletics through the age of "shamateurism" to its present professional state. Across three decades from the 1970s to the 1990s, he influenced, manipulated and dictated events on the track in Britain before being sacked in 1994 from the post of promotions director of the the British Athletics Federation. This followed the inquest on the athletics journalist Cliff Temple Cliff Temple was a leading UK athletics journalist, author, commentator and coach. For many years he was the athletics correspondent of The Sunday Times. He was the son of science fiction author William F. , whose suicide was, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 the coroner, partly due to Norman's intimidation.

Born in Suffolk, Norman attended the local grammar school in Ipswich, where his running days produced no significant victories. But in 1962, when he became a policeman in Bromley, close to Crystal Palace in south London South London (known colloquially as South of the River) is the area of London south of the River Thames. Some neighbourhoods north of the Thames have South London postal codes (SW), but these neighbourhoods are classified as West or Central London.  - then the new centre of the sport - he quickly began to help the International Athletes Club in their annual meeting at the track and build a reputation, not only bringing leading competitors to the meeting but arranging competition that was helpful in the development of British athletics. He soon became director of British meetings as well as an agent, and ensured that he was in control of almost every aspect of such events. Thus, he would confront a sponsor with the price list of names and arrange large fees for leading competitors.

His style soon reflected the bullying tactics that were allegedly used at that time in some parts of the Metropolitan police. As far as many leading British athletes were concerned, he was careful to promote them, and by paying money to a third party - a coach or relative - he was at least providing nominal support of the rules. By the late 1970s the sport was rife with rumours of illegal payments. Finally, the International Amateur Athletic Federation, under its notorious president, Primo Nebiolo (obituary, November 8 1999), realised there had to be change. Nebiolo and Norman were men of the same ilk, both economic in the application of the rules, but finally they saw a need for recognising some degree of honesty.

At the annual meeting of the federation in 1982, in Athens, the crucial rule ending strict amateurism was proposed. Nebiolo, unsure that he would get what he wanted in the face of strong opposition from the eastern European bloc, called on Norman to propose the resolution. If I had anything in common with Norman, it was to get rid of the dishonesty of "shamateurism", and in my room at the Royal Olympic Hotel Olympic Hotel may refer to:
  • The Olympic Hotel in Seattle, Washington, USA, now Fairmont Olympic Hotel
  • The Olympic Club Hotel in Centralia, Washington, USA.
, I sat with him and wrote his speech. The resolution was passed, the result being more money from sponsorship and a new television contract worth £7m over four years with ITV (1) See interactive TV.

(2) (iTV) The code name for Apple's video media hub (see Apple TV).
, much to the anguish of the BBC BBC
 in full British Broadcasting Corp.

Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927.
, whose association with the sport went back uninterrupted to the Olympic games Olympic games, premier athletic meeting of ancient Greece, and, in modern times, series of international sports contests. The Olympics of Ancient Greece

Although records cannot verify games earlier than 776 B.C.
 of 1948 in London.

This new money and freedom brought Norman greater power and influence. He became far more of a bully and dictator. If an athlete who wanted money for his or her performance did not toe the Norman line, they could be shut out - from British meetings and also events across Europe. On the other hand, he supported many athletes who would not turn out to be the star performers he needed. He had strong links with the annual international meeting in Oslo and on one occasion, when he had arranged that Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett Stephen Michael James ("Steve") Ovett OBE (born October 9, 1955), is a former middle distance runner from England. He was gold medalist in the 800 m at the 1980 Olympic Games, and set world records for 1500 m and 1 mile.  would run, he insisted that 47 other British athletes take part, which dismayed the promoter. Among them were many who required competition to obtain times or distances to qualify for other events. As a 400 metres runner in Suffolk 20 years before, he no doubt would have liked that opportunity.

Many in the sport began to object to his methods and style. Some in high office were reluctant to act because they were in some way involved. Many athletes and officials became enmeshed en·mesh   also im·mesh
tr.v. en·meshed, en·mesh·ing, en·mesh·es
To entangle, involve, or catch in or as if in a mesh. See Synonyms at catch.
 in his operation. They were doing little wrong - unless that included unfairness.

In 1985 the minister for sport, Neil Macfarlane Neil MacFarlane or Neil MacFarlane may refer to:
  • Neil MacFarlane (footballer) (born 1977) is a Scottish professional footballer
  • Neil Macfarlane (British politician) (born 1936), British Conservative Party poliitician Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam
, set up a commission to discover what sums of money the British sports involved in the Olympics required. Norman put the case for athletics, although he twice refused to disclose to the commission the sport's wealth or how it was being used.

Norman organised the racing career of Ovett and they had a long friendship. Ovett paid a glowing tribute to him in his biography, but just after that they fell out. The runner was stunned and hurt when Norman, who had been the best man at his wedding, arrived at his Hove Hove (hōv), city (1991 pop. 65,587), East Sussex, SE England. It is a modern residential seaside resort.  home, not with his wife, but the javelin thrower Fatima Whitbread Fatima Whitbread MBE (born 3 March 1961) is an English former javelin thrower and multi medal-winner. Early life
Abandoned in a north London flat as a baby by her Turkish Cypriot mother, Whitbread spent many unloving years in and out of children's homes before finally
, whom Norman was to marry in 1997. The final spilt spilt  
A past tense and a past participle of spill1.
 in the Norman-Ovett partnership came when Ovett discovered that he was receiving a fee to appear in a British trial, when Coe, whose father looked after his affairs, was not. The Amateur Athletic Association The Amateur Athletic Association of England (formerly simply the Amateur Athletic Association) or AAA (pronounced 'three As') is the oldest athletics organization in the UK, having been established in 1880.  set up an inquiry and Norman's power was curbed, but not effectively. There was a similar outcome to an inquiry that he was involved in helping athletes to avoid drug tests.

The decisive event emanated from a feature about Norman, written by Temple in the Sunday Times in August 1993. It was a withering compilation of Norman's activities and the way in which he manipulated people and events to fit his own agenda.

A month after publication of the article, at the world championships in Stuttgart, Norman, standing in a crowd of journalists and coaches in the warm-up area shouted, "Don't touch me, you pervert", when Temple brushed past him. Norman accused Temple of molesting female athletes, an accusation similar to one he had made against Steven Downes Steven Downes (born November 22, 1961 in Waterloo, London) is an award-winning sports journalist and television producer based in London. Early career
Initially specializing in track and field athletics and other Olympic sports, Downes covered his first Commonwealth Games
, a swimming coach, several years earlier. Later that month, in Brussels in a cafe with Neil Wilson For the Seventh Day Adventist, see .

Neil Wilson (born June 26, 1978 in Belfast) is a British figure skater. He competed in men's singles and won the gold medal at the British Ice Figure and Dance Championships in 1996, 1999, and 2002.
 of the Daily Mail, Wilson suggested it was "time to lay off" as Temple was in bad shape and suicidal because of his broken marriage, financial difficulties and uncertainty about his post at the Sunday Times. Norman replied: "If there is anything I can do to push him over the edge, I will." Wilson related this conversation when he subsequently gave evidence to the British Athletics Federation inquiry into Norman's activities which led to his dismissal.

After Norman was sacked he went to South Africa to revive his career there. His contribution to sport in Britain at a time of immense change was considerable, but he needed to be controlled, and for this omission British athletics officialdom remains guilty.

He is survived by Whitbread and their son, and a son and daughter from his first marriage.

· Andrew John Norman, police officer and sports administrator, born September 21 1943; died September 24 2007
Copyright 2007
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Date:Sep 28, 2007
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