Greg Foster - U.S.A. - World 110m Hurdles champions three times.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 12 August 1983

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      Monday, 04 August 1958
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Greg FOSTER - U.S.A. - World 110m Hurdles champions three times.


Greg Foster's name was practically synonymous with the 110m Hurdles event during the 1980s due to the consistency and quality of his performances. For someone who had such a long career at the highest level, it is surprising that his personal best time of 13.03sec came comparatively early in his career. He recorded this time when finishing second to Renaldo Nehemiah's World Record of 12.93sec at Zurich in August 1981. The next month Foster competed in his first major international championships at the World Cup in Rome, where he won in 13.32sec.


In August 1983, at Helsinki, he commenced what would eventually become a marvellous record at the IAAF World Championships. He easily won his semi-final at Helsinki, but the other semi-final had been won by Arto Bryggare of Finland, and a capacity crowd turned up for the final hoping to see Bryggare win Finland's first gold medal. Foster quickly assumed control, and was heading for a comfortable victory when he clipped the top of the eighth hurdle, and then slammed his foot into the crossbar of the ninth hurdle. This nearly threw him completely off balance, but he managed to maintain control, although he also knocked down the final hurdle and just managed to get to the line first in 13.42sec with Bryggare only 0.04sec behind.


At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Foster was considered the favourite, but it was obvious during the preliminary rounds that he was going to get some stiff opposition from young countryman Roger Kingdom. They both won their respective semi-finals in the same time of 13.24sec and the stage was set for a thrilling final. Foster led virtually all the way, but was just pipped for the gold medal by Kingdom in the last stride. (Ron Casey)



Photo of Greg Foster taken  at the 1991 World Championships on Sunday 1st. September.

Picture   George  Herringshaw. ©


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 in London.


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.