Adrian Moorhouse

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Adrian Moorhouse
Personal information
Full name Adrian David Moorhouse
National team  Great Britain
Born (1964-05-24) 24 May 1964 (age 54)
Bradford, England
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 87 kg (192 lb; 13.7 st)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Breaststroke
Club City of Leeds SC

Adrian David Moorhouse MBE[1] (born 24 May 1964) is an English former competitive swimmer who dominated British swimming in the late 1980s. He won the gold medal in the 100-metre breaststroke at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Since then Moorhouse, a former pupil of Bradford Grammar School, has translated his sporting success to a successful career in the business world, as managing director of Lane4,[2] a consultancy helping individuals and teams around the world reach their fullest potential. He was voted Best Leader at the Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work for in 2009 and 2007 and has been listed in HR Magazine's Most Influential UK Thinkers since 2010.[3] He is also a swimming commentator for BBC television.[4]

Early career

Moorhouse was born in Bradford, attended Bradford Grammar School and went to 4th Shipley Scouts.[5]

Moorhouse's inspiration to become seriously involved in national and international competitive swimming came at the age of 12 when he watched David Wilkie win gold at the Montreal Olympics. In 1980 he was selected for the England Junior team and broke the national junior records for both the 100 m and 200 m breaststroke. When he was 15, he was chosen for the national senior squad, number two to the gold medallist at the Moscow Olympics, Duncan Goodhew.[6]

Moorhouse became Britain's number one breaststroke swimmer in 1981 when he won a bronze medal for the 200 m in the European Championships in Yugoslavia. The following year he gained his first taste of gold after winning the 100 m breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

At the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, Moorhouse was tipped for a gold medal in the 100 m breaststroke but missed out completely, coming fourth. "I was devastated", he says.[7] "After the Games I convinced myself that I had no talent and that I was never going to win again. I didn't want anything to do with swimming.”

He celebrated his comeback in April 1985 when he broke the World Short Course (25 m pool) record for the 100 m,[8] and went on to win the European Championships gold medal in Bulgaria.

In 1986, Moorhouse suffered another setback, finishing first in the World Championships in Madrid but being disqualified for an illegal turn.[9]

In 1987, putting the Madrid episode behind him, Moorhouse set a world short-course record by becoming the first person to swim 100 m breaststroke in less than a minute,[10] out-swimming the former world record holder, Rolf Beab, at the Europeans in Bonn, in a time of 59.75 s.[11]

Moorhouse started Olympic year, 1988, on the right note by winning the 100 m breaststroke at the US Indoor Championships to confirm his status as number one in the world. In September he achieved a lifetime's ambition at Seoul when, following in the footsteps of David Wilkie and Duncan Goodhew, he won Olympic gold in the 100 m breaststroke.

Rivalry with Victor Davis

Canadian Victor Davis first encountered Moorhouse at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane when Davis took gold in the 200 m breaststroke, and Moorhouse took the gold in the 100 m breaststroke. They met again later at the 1982 World Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador, but this time Davis had the upper hand in both events, taking the gold in the 200 m and silver in the 100 m. Moorhouse, also in his first World Championships, finished 5th in the 100 m, and 7th in the 200 m.

Their next encounter was at the 1984 Olympics and it seemed that both their chances were enhanced by the boycott of East Germany and the Soviet Union. The 1984 Games were perhaps Victor Davis' finest competition, as he took gold in the 200 m and silver in the 100 m. Meanwhile, Moorhouse suffered badly. Having had severe tonsillitis just days before the start of the Games, he finished 4th in the 100 m and 6th in the 200 m. Davis, now at the pinnacle of his swimming career, was voted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. At the time of the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Victor Davis took gold in the 100 m event. Now the European Champion, Moorhouse, surprised Davis by sneaking the gold in the 200 m event.

By the time of the 1986 World Championships in Madrid, the world swimming media were hyping up the 100 m breaststroke event as 'the event of the championships', knowing that it would inevitably prove to be another great battle between Davis and Moorhouse. Davis couldn't contain Moorhouse over the final 25 m, and Moorhouse took the 100 m gold in a new European Record of 1.02.01 secs. Davis took the silver in 1:02.71.

The officials disqualified Moorhouse for an 'illegal turn', claiming he had used a butterfly kicking action during the underwater phase of the 50 m turn. TV crews from around the world began to analyse the footage of the 'illegal turn' from all conceivable angles, but each time it looked perfectly sound.

The call of the 'turn judge' was upheld on appeal and Davis was awarded the gold medal. Davis went on to take silver in the 200 m breaststroke – beaten by Hungarian Josef Szabo. Moorhouse withdrew from the 200 m event with a strained adductor muscle. The final encounter between Davis and Moorhouse at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, which proved to be Davis' final international competition. Both had announced before the Games that the 100 m event would be their main priority. Davis had performed poorly at the Canadian Olympic Trials, and had not been selected for the 200 m breaststroke, while Moorhouse was ranked number one in the world, and his lifetime best of 1:01.78 was close to the world record 1:01.65.

Davis, still the Canadian record holder at 1:01.99, was only ranked 6th in the world going into the 1988 Olympics and no-one really knew what kind of shape he was going to be in. In the morning heats, Davis looked very impressive. He led the field from the start, and easily won his heat in a time of 1:02.48. Moorhouse was able to qualify in a faster time, winning his heat in 1:02.19. After one false start, Moorhouse looked the more nervous of the two behind the starting blocks. Meanwhile, Davis looked calm. At the second start, both Davis and Dmitri Volkov of the USSR began strongly, leaving Moorhouse slightly trailing. Volkov opened a 2-metre lead over the first 50 m, and Davis was matched stroke for stroke by Moorhouse. Volkov touched first at the 50 m mark in 28.12 s, setting a new 50 metre breaststroke world record. Moorhouse turned 6th in 29.42 s, and Davis turned 7th in 29.46 s. Volkov extended his lead, and as he reached the 75 m mark, he looked a certainty for the gold medal. He was 3–4 metres ahead of Moorhouse, Davis and Károly Güttler of Hungary. At this point Davis and Moorhouse closed in on Volkov. Moorhouse took the gold in 1:02.04, just ahead of Guttler's time of 1:02.05. The bronze medal was won by Volkov, in a time of 1:02.20, leaving Davis in 4th place, with a time of 1:02.38.

Later career and retirement

In 1989 Moorhouse was appointed MBE. He remained as the world number one until 1991 but at the Barcelona Olympic Games he finished eighth in the final and soon retired from swimming.

He has since enjoyed a successful career as a Management Consultant, co-founding Lane4 in 1995, where he works with a wide range of organisations to help individuals and teams around the world reach their potential.

Moorhouse was chosen as an official Team GB Ambassador for London 2012 Games and was also a torchbearer.[12]

See also


  1. "Adrian Moorhouse". City of Leeds Swimming Club. 1987. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  2. "Lane4". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  3. "Awards – Lane4". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  4. "Media Centre – BBC 2012 TV commentators and pundits". 20 June 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  5. "History of Shipley & Baildon Scout District 1908 – 1995" (PDF). Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  6. Heller, Robert (8 July 2006). "Edward de Bono & Robert Heller's Thinking Managers "Continuous Improvement: Focusing on Targets"". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  7. "Rider's Legends: Adrian Moorhouse". BBC News. 22 September 2000. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  8. "City of Leeds Swimming Club: Swimmer Profiles (Former Internationals) – Adrian Moorhouse". Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  9. Moorhouse, Adrian (19 March 1995). "My own goal: Adrian Moorhouse". The Independent. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  10. "Stroke of Genius: At the Match interview". 19 January 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  11. Maddocks, Chris (11 March 2001). "Where are they now? Adrian Moorhouse". UK Sport. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  12. [1]

External links

Preceded by
Giorgio Lamberti
European Swimmer of the Year
Succeeded by
Tamás Darnyi