Allan Wipper Wells was born on 3rd May 1952 and won the 100 metres gold medal at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 for GB.
At the start of the 1980 season, Wells won the AAA’s 100 metres, then went to the Cote d’Azur to finish preparing for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. He never used starting blocks, until a rule change forced him to do so for the Moscow Olympics.
In Moscow, 28-year-old Wells qualified for the final, with a new British record 10.11s, where he faced pre-race favourite Silvio Leonard of Cuba. By 60 metres the field were fading, and by 80 metres the race was between Leonard on the inside and Wells on the outside. Wells edged ahead, but Leonard drew even again. With seven metres to go Wells began an extreme lean which allowed his head and shoulder to cross the finish line 3 inches (76mm) before Leonard’s chest in a photo finish; both men were given a final time of 10.25s. Wells became the oldest Olympic 100m champion at that time at the age of 28 years 83 days. He remains the last white male athlete to win the Olympic 100 metres title.
Roared on by his wife Margo the shout of ”C’mon Allan!!” over and over again during his races at the Olympics became almost as memorable as the race itself as some TV channels employed a split screen technique that saw the viewer see Wells win his race and his wife literally shout him to glory.
The 200m final was another close affair. Wells from lane 7, exploded out of the blocks and ran a spectacular turn making up the stagger on Mennea to his outside after only 50 metres. Coming out of the turn he had a two-metre lead over Leonard, with Quarrie close behind in third while Mennea looking fully eclipsed. But Mennea shifted gears in the straight and caught Wells with 10 metres to go. Wells attempted a final dip which had brought him victory in the 100, but he fell short, and Wells won the silver medal behind Pietro Mennea, who beat him by 0.02s; again he set a British record of 20.21s. He went on to break a third British record, 38.62s, with the sprint relay team that finished fourth in the final.
Following the Moscow Olympics, there was some suggestion that his gold medal had been devalued by the boycott of the games, especially by the USA, but he beat the best on offer at the time and the medal is still recognised as one of Scotland’s greatest ever sporting achievements.