Billy Cole

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Billy Cole
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing  England
Commonwealth Games
Gold medal – first place 1986 Edinburgh Shot put

Billy Cole (born 10 February 1965) is a British former track and field athlete who specialised in the shot put. His personal best for the event was 19.01 m (62 ft 4​14 in).[1] His sole major achievement was a gold medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games. He also won three UK Championships and four AAA titles (two outdoor, two indoor)


Cole began competing in the shot put at an early age and took part in international competition, winning the 1981 title for England at the British International Schools Match and a bronze at the 1982 Gymnasiade behind compatriot Chris Ellis. [2][3] Nationally, he rose through the ranks at the English Schools Championships, winning the under-15s title in 1979 and then the under-20 title in 1982.[4] As a member of the Newham and Essex Beagles athletics club,[5] he took part in the junior AAA championships. He won the 1980 under-17s AAA indoor title and then repeated that victory the following year with a championship record of 18.09 m (59 ft 4 in). Once he reached the full junior category competitions, he had similar success: he won the 1982 indoor title then set a championship record of 17.00 m (55 ft 9​14 in) to win in 1984.[6] He had three straight wins at the AAA Junior Outdoor Championships from 1982 to 1984, including championship records of 16.79 m (55 ft 1 in) and 16.92 m (55 ft 6 in).[7]

He began to make his impact at the senior level in 1983, starting at the national level. He third at the AAA Indoor Championships then was runner-up at the UK Championships in Athletics that year behind Nick Tabor. The year after he rose to second at the AAA Indoors (behind Mike Winch) and won his first national title at the UK Championships. He broke Winch's six-year undefeated streak at the 1985 AAA Indoors, although his winning mark of 17.32 m (56 ft 9​34 in) was the shortest in fifteen years. He defended his UK title and added the AAA Championships crown to that, though again his victory in 17.88 m (58 ft 7​34 in) was a low not reached since 1968.[8][9][10]

The 1986 season was the peak of Cole's career. The 21-year-old had a triple victory at national level by winning the AAA Indoors in 18.48 m (60 ft 7​12 in), a third straight UK Championships title in 18.68 m (61 ft 3​14 in), and a second AAA Championships title with a lifetime best of 19.01 m (62 ft 4​14 in). These marks were his best performances ever at those competitions.[8][9][10] His personal best moved him up to fifth on the all-time United Kingdom lists behind Geoff Capes, Mike Winch, Arthur Rowe and Bill Tancred.[11] His achievements that year brought him his first and only senior selection for England at the 1986 Commonwealth Games held in Edinburgh. The standard of throwing at that tournament was much lower than it had been in the preceding years, and Cole won the gold medal with a throw of 18.16 m (59 ft 6​34 in) – the shortest winning throw for 24 years.[12][13]

Despite his Commonwealth title coming at such an early stage of his career, he did not compete at a high level of the sport after that.[5]

International competitions

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
1982 Gymnasiade Lille, France 3rd 18.03 m
1986 Commonwealth Games Edinburgh, Scotland 1st 18.16 m


  1. Billy Cole. All Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  2. Billy Cole. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  3. ISF WORLD GYMNASIADE British Medallists. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  4. English Schools Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Billy Cole. Power of 10. Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  6. AAA Junior Indoor Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  7. Billy Cole. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  8. 8.0 8.1 UK Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  9. 9.0 9.1 AAA Indoor Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  10. 10.0 10.1 AAA Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  11. UNITED KINGDOM ALL-TIME LISTS - MEN. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  12. Commonwealth Games : Cram Wins 1,500 Despite Tactical Error, Slow Pace; 10-Day Competition Ends. Los Angeles Times (1986-08-03). Retrieved on 2015-03-26.
  13. Commonwealth Games: Men’s shot put. Athletics Weekly (2014-07-24). Retrieved on 2015-03-26.

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