Lloyd Cowan has died, at the age of 58, due to Covid 19. This tribute gives a slight idea on how much and how many were by this kind man. I saw Lloyd Cowan as one of the good ones, one I wanted to interview…
The sad news of the death of Lloyd Cowan was announced this week. He was 58. As a 110m hurdler he was selected for the 1984 Olympics but was ill and had to withdraw. After retirement he coached about 20 athletes, several of whom won global medals.
In 2002 a teenage netball player, Christine Ohuruogu, asked Lloyd if she could join his athletics group one night a week to improve her fitness for England Netball. Lloyd quickly noted that she had speed and stamina and persuaded her to run a race or two. Christine recalls only doing it as a way of repaying his kindness. She ran well enough to be selected for the European Juniors where she took a bronze medal.
Cowan persuaded her to give athletics a try, a partnership which led to two world titles and Olympic gold and silver – as well a number of relay medals. Lloyd was often GB relay team coach.
British Athletics paid the following tribute to him:
UKA STATEMENT: LLOYD COWAN MBE
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Lloyd Cowan MBE. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.
Lloyd specialised as a 110m and 400m hurdler during his athletics career before moving into coaching where he guided several British stars to global glory. Most notably, he coached Christine Ohuruogu to the 400m Olympic title in 2008, and three further Olympic medals, including 400m silver on home soil at London 2012, as well as two memorable 400m world titles in 2007 and 2013, among many other honours. He also guided Andy Turner to Commonwealth and European 110m hurdles titles in 2010 before world championship bronze in 2011.
He coached several athletes to domestic and international honours during his career including his son, Dwayne, who he proudly saw capture world and European 4x400m relay bronze in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The measure of the man – human being as much as coach – came out in the social media tributes. They were often from athletes he did not coach but for whom he had been a friend or offered acts of kindness. The number of athletes who posted pictures of themselves with him tells its own story.
His contribution to UK athletics was immense. He will be sadly missed.
“My heart is broken. You would light up every room you walked in. You changed my life. I am so grateful for you”. Bianca Williams (coached by Lloyd five years)
Bianca Williams and Lloyd Cowan, photo via twitter/ British Athletics
“Heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken to hear that my coach Lloyd Cowan had passed away. 12 good years with this man, I owe him everything. Gutted.” Andy Turner (coached by Lloyd for 12 years)
“A really sad start to the athletics year – a great coach, mentor and team mate. A massive loss to the sport.” Seb Coe
“No trip to London would be complete without a conversation with Coach Lloyd. His laugh and smile was everything, especially around the discussion of Jamaican food or jokes. You will be missed. Condolences to his family and friends.” Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
“Really sad to hear of Lloyd Cowan’s passing. What a coaching legend. Condolences to his family, friends and the many athletes whom he coached.” Mara Yamauchi
“Such sad news this morning. In 2013 I went to my first awards evening in London. I was 16 at the time and Lloyd introduced himself to me and we had a lovely chat. I have never forgotten that. “Sophie Hahn
“Gutted to hear Lloyd Cowan has passed away. He was a massive personality and so helpful to so many (including myself) when coming through the ranks. Never again will I hear “Ruddy” shouted in his distinctive voice and his big smile when meeting.” Greg Rutherford
“Lloyd always made me laugh and his smile lit up a room. Enjoyed being on teams at holding camps with him, especially pre-London 2012 Paralympic Games where his knowledge, expertise, influence and personality had a huge impact on us all.” Katy Barden
“Absolutely gutted and so sad to read the news about Lloyd Cowan. I have so many great memories of spending time with Lloyd on training camps and at champs. He always believed in me and gave me some great advice and coaching tips along the way in the hurdles. Pure passion in what he did!” Jess Ennis-Hill
“The athletics community has lost a real one. Lloyd Cowan wasn’t just a great coach but also just a great human. It didn’t matter if you were Olympic Champ or just starting out, he was always willing to help athletes anyway he could. You will be missed dearly. “Adam Gemili
“Sad to see the news of Lloyd Cowan’s passing today. Everyone who knew Lloyd knew what a personality he was. I was always happy to see and speak to Lloyd. Happy and bubbly person; instilled confidence and self-belief. An inspiring soul that will be hugely missed. Top coach”. Nathan Douglas
In today’s blog post, @MikeRowbo pays tribute to renowned #athletics coach Lloyd Cowan following his death. Cowan’s coaching triumphs included overseeing Christine Ohuruogu winning world and Olympic titles https://t.co/r9Vd7dcnNU #TrackAndField #TeamGB #RIPLloydCowan
— insidethegames (@insidethegames) January 11, 2021
“So sorry to hear of the passing of inspirational coach Lloyd Cowan, a friend for over 40 years as part of the Haringey/New River Family as junior athletes. I was pleased to be able to award him with the BAWA Ron Pickering Trophy for Services to Athletics in 2013. “Shaun Pickering
“The world of track lost another family member today, and it hurt more than I could have ever imagined. The space you left cannot be filled. My condolences to all who knew and loved you.” Linford Christie
“Track and Field lost a legend today. Lloyd Cowan MBE has been a part of so many athletes’ journeys right from the very beginning up to the end. Always had a warm hug and smile for you whenever you saw him. To think I’d known him for 10 years.” Imani Lansiquot
“Devastating news. Lloyd helped so many of us through our careers, was always a mentor figure He was also one of the first supporters of coach Christine Harrison-Bloomfield and really helped push her into coaching, she wouldn’t be the woman she is today without him This is absolutely heart-breaking news!! ” Laviai Nielsen
“One of the really good ones … if you ever needed a Pep talk … Lloyd was the one.” Kelly Southerton
Sad news about our dear friend Lloyd Cowan. A larger than life character and loved by all. Brother you’ll be greatly missed.ðŸ‘ŠðŸ½ pic.twitter.com/eTfemMRmZL
— Tony_lester59 (@TLester59) January 11, 2021
“Without him I wouldn’t have had such a good season last summer, he watched most of my 6am practices in Florida when we were stuck there. Was always there to help, encourage and give advice.” Annimari Korte
“Terrible news to hear of Lloyd Cowan’s passing. As a hurdler he was successful internationally, as a coach he reached the absolute peak and as a man he had unmatched influence on those he met in the sport.” Ian Hodge
“Very sad news, Lloyd looked after me at my first international at the European u23s in 2007. There is even footage of him jumping up and down cheering me on down the home straight. He was then a reassuring friendly face as coach for many of my relay races, thanks for everything.” Eilidh Doyle
“It is incredible sad news to hear that Lloyd Cowan passed away. He was just not a dedicated and great coach he was also a great friend and outstanding person. His addition to our coaching staff at the 2012 Paralympic Games was invaluable.” Peter Eriksson
“Such sad news, he helped so many people on their journey n Athletes and was such a nice guy. Will be missed by many. Thoughts with his family and friends.” Sally Gunnell
RIP Lloyd Cowan MBE- always a good man, looked after me on the circuit through my youth and always there for guidance if I needed it. Best wishes to Dwayne and the rest of your family pic.twitter.com/yGpC9QLPOt
— Martyn Rooney (@MartynRooney) January 11, 2021