Geoffrey Dyson

Geoffrey Dyson

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Geoffrey H. Dyson (?-1981) OBE was a track and field coach. During his 14 years as Britain's chief national coach for track and field (1947-1961), he established a high quality coaching system which included sports science information and supplementary training activities in the form of weight and circuit training.

A significant part of his work for Britain during this period involved personal coaching of elite athletes, in what he identified as "Cinderella events." The Dyson team, assembled from a select group of young athletes and coached with Olympic performance as the prime target, was extremely successful. The five selected athletes all became British record holders; three won Olympic medals. Maureen Gardner won a silver medal in the 80m hurdles in the 1948 Summer Olympics. Shirley Cawley and John Disley won bronze medals in the long jump and 3000m steeplechase respectively. John Savidge became the first man to throw over 50 feet in the shot and was placed sixth in the Helsinki Olympics. Geoff Elliott specialized in the pole vault and was twice Commonwealth Games champion. Much of the success of this group can be credited to Dyson's skills as a coach.

Dyson married Gardner one month after the 1948 Olympics.

But Dyson was just as important as an influence on other coaches, writing the definitive work on the mechanics of athletics and always seeking to professionalize the art of coaching in an amateur sport.

Dyson made a major contribution to Canadian sport during his stint as director of the Royal Canadian Legion's Sports Training Plan. From 1962-70, over 1,300 student coaches from across Canada received high quality instruction in track and field at the University of Guelph. Also, during this time, more than 1,200 young athletes received intensive coaching at winter and summer camps in Edmonton and Hamilton. A large percentage of these athletes reached world-class status.

dyson.jpg Dyson returned to England to accept the challenge of becoming the first director of physical education at Winchester College, one of the most prestigious public schools in the world. In a six year period - his first experience of teaching in a school - he introduced a wide variety of physical education programs and vastly increased the physical activity experiences of his students.

He also travelled widely throughout his career, presenting papers on many aspects of sport to groups ranging from the International Olympic Academy to the British Mathematical Association.

Dyson was a self-confessed difficult man. By this he really meant that he was a man of forceful personality, strong-willed, outspoken and honest. He demanded the highest standards of himself and of those with whom he worked. Anything less was unacceptable. But he was also quick and generous to recognise full commitment and high performance. His exemplary performance in whatever he attempted and his totally professional approach to his work brought out the very best in others.



In 2008, Dyson was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame.

Sports Coach UK named an award after Dyson for individuals who have made a sustained and significant contribution to the development of coaching and individual coaches in the United Kingdom.

The Geoffrey Dyson Award of the International Society of Biomechanics in Sports recognizes sport scientists who, throughout their professional careers, bridge the gap between biomechanics research and practice in sport. It is the most prestigious award of ISBS.[1]

When he died in 1981, the McWhirter twins described him as ‘probably the greatest all round coach in the world’.[2]


  • Dyson, Georffrey Dyson's Mechanics of Athletics Holmes & Meier Pub; 8th edition (November 1986) ISBN 978-0841911024

External links


  1. Retrieved 2009-03-06
  2. Retrieved 2009-03-06