Keith Connor was Britain's leading triple jumper between the late 1970s
and mid-1980s and, in 1982, the undisputed world's best in the event.
He first came to prominence in 1974, winning the England Schools'
Intermediate title with a leap of 14.25, and, making steady progress
under coach Ted King, by 1977 he was UK outdoor record holder with
16.33. In 1978, still only 20, he marked his international championship
debut by taking the silver medal at the European Indoor Championships
in Milan with a jump of 16.53, only one centimetre outside the British
record he had set earlier that season. Building on this fine effort,
Keith easily won the Commonwealth title in 1978 with a wind-assisted
17.21, but injury ruined his chances at that year's European
Championships where he finished a commendable 6th (16.64). Connor ended
an eventful year by moving to the United States and enrolling as a
student at the University of Texas at El Paso.
He competed little in
1979 due to a heel injury but in January 1980, he jumped 17.16 in
Melbourne, Australia, to set a Commonwealth record. At that year's
Moscow Olympics, he finished a creditable fourth (16.87) after just
returning from a hamstring injury. Later in 1980, he switched his
studies to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he rejoined
his former coach, Ted King. Back with King and taking advantage of the
excellent facilities at SMU, Keith's career got back on track again
after his injury problems. In 1981, he extended his UK indoor record to
17.08; won the US national collegiate (NCAA) title with a world indoor
best of 17.31; and claimed a bronze medal in the World Student Games
(16.88). Even these fine efforts, however, were just a precursor for
his glorious year of 1982.
After retaining his NCAA indoor title
(16.84) in March, three months later he leapt to second in the all-time
lists with a massive 17.57, smashing the European record (17.44) held
since 1972 by the legendary Viktor Saneyev (USSR). He then completed an
excellent European and Commonwealth double, winning those titles with,
respectively, jumps of 17.29 and 17.81 (+4.6m wind) to finish the season
as the world's No1 ranked triple jumper. He completed a hat-trick of
NCAA titles in 1983 (with a leap of 17.26), but injuries marred his
campaign in Europe and he failed to qualify for the final at the
inaugural World Championships in Helsinki. He retired from athletics
after winning the bronze medal (16.87) at the 1984 Olympics in Los
Angeles (the photo shows Keith during the final), a fitting end to an illustrious career. (Martin Greensill).
Keith Connor retired from active competition in 1984 due to injury and began an illustrious career as a coach and sports administrator. Connor was appointed head coach at the New South Wales Institute of Sport in 1990, after spending several years coaching on the American college scene following his retirement from competition. He was credited with helping Australian athletes to win medals at the Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney Olympics due to his work in revamping the New South Wales Institute of Sport.
Following his successes at NSW Institute of Sport, Connor was given the appointed as head coach of Athletics Australia in 2001. In 2006 Keith was turned down for the job of Head Coach to British Athletics Board although he was regarded by most as the best candidate. After his contract with Australian Athletics expired
Keith became a Sport Consultant to national associations, sporting bodies, sponsors and individuals.