Legendary British sprinter Ron Jones, captain of the GB team at the 1968 Mexico Olympics and part of the 4x110yd team that tied the world record in 1963, has died at the age of 87.
After his illustrious career in athletics, Jones moved on to football, first as Managing Director of QPR in 1976 before becoming Managing Director in Cardiff and then Portsmouth.
But he will be most remembered for being part of the British squad – alongside Peter Radford, David Jones and Berwyn Jones – which stunned a strong American contingent to tie the 4x110yd world record in 40.0 seconds.
Writing in the Observer, Norris McWhirter said the performance was so good it “blew up the White City crowd – like in the good old days”. The feat was even more impressive considering that the American team that day included Bob “The Bullet” Hayes, the fastest man in the world who would later win gold at the 1964 Olympics. It was a measure of how good Jones was that when he faced Hayes in the 100-yard individual sprint earlier in the afternoon, he pushed him towards the line.
“The mighty Hayes, who breaks all the rules of fast movement by swaying and rolling as he fights with his pigeon’s feet on the track, had to get away,” McWhirter wrote. “But nothing like that happened. In fact, Jones got close to him and was only beaten by two feet on the board.
Hayes ‘time was 9.5 seconds, with Jones’ time of 9.6. Such was Jones’ form that year, he also set a Welsh 100m record in 10.30 seconds – which lasted 27 years until it was beaten by Colin Jackson in 1990.
Her great friend Lynn Davies, who won gold in the long jump in Tokyo 1964 and raced in the British relay team with Jones in those Olympics, told The Guardian that Jones was an “inspiring character on and on. off the track “.
“Ron will be remembered for being one of Wales’ greatest athletes,” he said. “He was one of my heroes growing up and when we ran I never got to beat him. He had such a smooth stride. And, remarkably, he did it all while working full time as a accounting. “
Davies said that when Jones was Cardiff City’s general manager he would even do fitness training with the players. “And he has also done a lot for young people in sport in Wales as Chairman of Sports Aid Cymru Wales.”
“He was a very proud Welshman with a very warm and outgoing personality,” he added. “He loved the company and a glass of red wine. I have many happy memories of sitting with him and remembering the good old days.