Roger Black was a talented 400 metre junior runner and won both individual and relay golds at the 1985 European Junior Championships. He wasted little time making his mark in the senior ranks and did the same double at the boycott-hit 1986 Commonwealth Games. Most impressively he smashed his personal best to record an upset victory over Thomas Schönlebe at the same year's European Championships and again added a gold in the relay. A foot injury hampered him throughout the 1987 season and he failed to clinch a place in the World Championship 400 although he was part of the silver medal winning relay team. Black missed the 1988 season and most of the following year through injury but returned in 1990 to defend both his European titles and in 1991 he finished a close second to Antonio Pettigrew at the World Championships. He also ran the lead off leg when Great Britain scored a shocking upset over the USA in the 4×400 relay. His Olympic début in 1992 was a disappointment as he failed to reach the final although he did have the consolation of a bronze medal in the relay. After yet another season lost to illness and injury, he narrowly failed to retain his European title in 1994 but did win his fifth European gold by winning a third successive relay title. An otherwise excellent 1995 season yielded no medal success at the World Championship but at least he was able to stay fit and entered Olympic year in excellent shape. Black set a national record of 44.37 seconds three weeks before the 1996 Olympic Games and, although nobody could live with the astonishing performances of Michael Johnson, ran a controlled race to finish second in the Atlanta final. He won a second silver medal as the British team broke the European record in placing second in the 4x400 m.
The relay team again placed second behind the USA at the 1997 World Championships in Athens but were upgraded to champions in 2009 when Antonio Pettigrew admitted to have been using EPO and human growth hormone (HGH) prior to the championships. Black retired in 1998 and followed a well-trodden path for Olympic medallists by joining the BBC athletics presentation team, and now works as a motivational speaker.
Personal Best: 400 – 44.37 (1996).
Athlete Olympic Results Content
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