For the past decade Mark Richardson has been one of the World's leading 400metre athletes. However, after another season plagued with injury, Mark finally decided to retire from the world of Athletics
Mark was attracted to athletics by the achievements of Carl Lewis' at the 1984 Olympics. He has confirmed the rich promise that he showed as a junior, and has consolidated a place amongst the world's best 400m runners, ranking in the world's top 6 in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 1999.
He set a UK age-15 best for 400m of 47.57 in 1988, improving to 47.32 on his junior international debut. and then age-16 he set bests of 46.63 and 46.43 in the heats and semis of the World Juniors. His 1989 season was ruined by injury and he also missed most the 1993 and 1994 summer seasons due to a fractured hip.
After gold and silver at the European Juniors he won relay medals as a reserve and achieved World gold in 1991 and Olympic bronze 1992. He was 5th in the 1995 World Championships 400m, but had to withdraw from the relay team through illness.
At the 1996 Olympics his 43.62 for the 3rd leg in the final was the fastest split at the Games and the fastest ever run by a British runner. He ran personal bests in the finals of both 1995 and 1997 World Championships. In 1998 he missed the British record by just 0.01 with 44.37 in a win over Michael Johnson at Oslo (running a record from lane 1)
Although disappointed not to get that record during the year and with his 3rd place in Budapest, but had a splendid season overall, topped with a win in the Grand Prix Final. In 1999 he ran a season's best of 44.47 in his semi-final at the World Championships before taking his third successive top six placing in the final.
In February 2000 came the sensational news that Mark had tested positive for nandrolone; he vehemently denied knowingly taking any banned substance.
In July 2000 an independent Disciplinary Committee unanimously decided that UK Athletics should dismiss the disciplinary proceedings against Mark, who was then free to compete in athletic competition.
In his first race back after being cleared to run he was a superb third in the Norwich Union British Grand Prix in 45.11 and he went on to win the AAA title in commanding style and improved to 44.72 at Brussels
Mark was selected for the UK Olympic team, but withdrew as the IAAF arbitration committee's review of his drugs charge was still awaited and he wanted to delay its meeting until he had fully prepared his case. However, he returned to competition to win the IAAF Grand Prix 400m in Qatar in 45.20.
Mark, who volunteered to undertake a number of activities to educate other athletes about the possible dangers of food supplements, was reinstated by the IAAF Council under its 'exceptional circumstances' rule with effect from 15 June 2001.
He ran a solid 45.26 anchor leg on his reappearance for Britain at the European Cup and then had a fine win in windy conditions in Glasgow. He ran 45.79 in retaining his AAA title and 45.22 for a win at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix, but a further improvement to 45.14 was not quite enough to make the final at the World Championships.
Mark is no stranger to the spotlight, and has appeared as a guest on shows
such as A Question of Sport, They Think It Is All Over, Blue Peter, Grandstand, Sky Sports and Radio 5 live.
Mark is bright, articulate, entertaining and well informed. He will tailor his presentations to meet the needs of the client and is a true professional.