Greg Foster had been in fine form leading up
to the 1987 World Championships held in Rome. He had produced four of
the fastest five times in the 110m Hurdles in 1986, and three of the
fastest four times in the 1987 season to date, and there seemed no
reason why he wouldn't successfully defend his world title won in
Helsinki four years earlier. However, despite this good form, there
were some concerns as to whether he would be able to finish the race at
all. He had failed to finish a number of times earlier in the season
from hitting hurdles and falls, including at the World Indoor
Championships in March, and only the week before the World Championships
Nevertheless, Foster had no trouble in the preliminary
rounds winning his heat in 13.20sec and easing up in his semi-final to
easily qualify for the final two days later. In the final, Foster was
slow out of the blocks, but recovered to hit the lead just after the
third hurdle, and won easily in 13.21sec. Foster missed the 1988 Seoul
Olympic Games due to injury, but he was back at the World Championships
in Tokyo in 1991 to defend his title and attempt to become the first
athlete to win three consecutive world titles.
Again he had been in top
form, running five of the fastest seven times recorded in the season
prior to Rome including a time of 13.06sec, his fastest since 1981. In
the final, Foster started well and had a narrow lead at the half way
point, but he was being pressed by countryman Jack Pierce who was
finishing fast. The two hit the tape virtually together in 13.06sec,
and only after minute study of the results of the photo finish was
Foster eventually declared the winner. (Ron Casey)
As well as his international titles, Foster was twice NCAA outdoor champion (1978 and 1980) in the 110 meter hurdles and was the NCAA 200 meter champion in 1979.
He won 10 U.S. national titles, four of them outdoors in the 110 meter hurdles (1981, 1983, 1986, and 1987) and six indoors, in the 60 yard hurdles (1983, 1984, 1985), 55 meter hurdles (1987, 1988) and 60 meter hurdles (1991).
He broke the indoor world record for the 50 meter hurdles in 1985 (6.35 seconds) and tied that mark in 1987. He also broke the 60 meter hurdle indoor world record in 1987 with a time of 7.36.
Foster was ranked in the top ten hurdlers in the world for 15 out of 16 years 1977 to 1992. Five of those years, he was ranked number one, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987 and 1991.
Foster was suspended from athletics for almost 6 months in 1990 after testing positive for pseudo ephedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine.