A sad day for CharlieFrancis.com

Never met him,wished I had.

I did ,however speak with him through this forum over the last six years or so and was struck by his generosity,vast knowledge of running,ability to communicate,his wicked sense of humour,his disdain for "bull-shit"and lastly but most importantly his obvious courage.

Thank you Charlie.

My deepest sympathy to Ange and james.

OMG! I just saw the news article!

I for one would be happy if we were able to persuade the journalist Mike Hurst to prepare something on my / our behalf. They appear to have had a close relationship and Mike posted a nice article at


I have edited bits from that which to me could possibly from the basis of something.

[i]Like 10,824 members of his internet coaching forum (charliefrancis.com), I am shocked and saddened.

Especially saddened at the news agency reports that typically dismiss Charlie as “the coach who gave dope to Ben Johnson, the first Olympic champion ever to be disqualified”. The charge was true and, to his credit, he never denied it.

By the brilliance of his mind and the strength of his personality, Charlie turned coaching on its head, in much the same way that he exposed the great track and field swindle at the Dubin Inquiry with the use of facts.

With his interpretation of science-based facts related to the physiology of exercise, Charlie - through personal consultations, training manuals, books (notably Speed Trap) and DVDs - has influenced every athlete who has run 100m in 9.8sec or faster, whether they are conscious of the source of their knowledge or not.

So many sportswriters since that day of infamy in Seoul in 1988 portrayed Charlie as a lone wolf, a pariah in the athletics community, a one-off rogue coach.

Since Johnson was busted, though, far more than 1000 elite sportsmen and women have failed drug tests - none of them associated with Charlie.

Yet he remains the only coach ever to stand up in public and tell it how it was, and probably still is.

Charlie acknowledged his “wrong-headedness” and although banned for life from coaching in Canada, he had spent the rest of his years trying to make amends by helping journalists expose the frauds and helping coaches and athletes - including contemporary Canadian champions - arrive at victory without doping.

A Stanford University graduate in modern history, Charlie had a piercing intellect and a wicked sense of humour.[/i]

Re this site, it will always be ‘Charlie’s site’ but I expect it will continue, obviously without the same special flavour and insight Charlie brought though. If help is needed in anyway just ask.

I just lost family myself to cancer a few months ago, he was only in his early 20s. There are so many variations of it and it seems like there are so many ways to come down with it. Personally, I feel our modern environment has much to do with it. From all the dental x rays all the way to the bad food that is served to us to eat!

This site does have the benefit of 10,000 posts by CF , great archive resource. These posts will be timeless.

Rest in peace Charlie… :frowning: I always wanted to meet you in person, but now that dream is gone. Thank you for your good will to share training wisdom and years of practice.

If I can be of any help please let me know. Sad days for all of us at the forum and the sport world.

1000%. Its a no brainer what we consume directly relates to health. Even so-called “healthy” foods put a burden on the system.

I’m still a big believer that red meat, milk & sugar in particular are causes<<< Which hasn’t been proved, but eliminating them, eliminated at least 6 of my medical conditions. Certainly a much better/efficient athlete because of it.

A lot can be learned of the diets associated with the island of Okinawa which has the most centenarians & the world’s longest life expectancy.


Derek, please give Ange my best.

I’m glad you have so much recorded material of Charlie. Everyone owes you a big debt of gratitude for doing that. It’s great to know Charlie will still be teaching us new things for quite some time and that we haven’t heard the last from him.

Oh yes, in Japan they live a very long time.

I still can’t believe it nor can I find the words for it. Best wishes to the Francis family

Same with me.

Charlie made me think about training differently from the accepted teaching norm. For that I am internally grateful, it made me a better coach today.


Nothing to add, except I feel like an old friend has gone…everyday in the last 9 years I’ve read, wrote and chatted in this forum, many times with Him.I regret greatly not to have met him, nor to have successfully invited him here in Italy for a semonar 4 years ago, when a group of coaches was interested, and we actually called Rupert regarding that matter, but unfortunately, we didn’t accomplish that.
He was for sure a great guy, not only regarding track.I 've had so many discussion with coaches here downplaying his training, but I always defended his works, and I owe to him so much regarding my coaching style and career.
I hope that all our messages could be maybe printed in a small booklet, to be with Charlie physically, and one with Ange and James.
R.I.P Great Man, I’m sure you’ll be excited to follow track above there…

Wow… I’m in shock. It’s tough to believe that Charlie is gone. I’ve never seen someone with so much dedication and love for a sport. He cares so much about his athletes and truly wants them to succeed. This is a very rare personality trait and people like this are very hard to come by.

I’m impressed by his dedication and willingness to improve himself and individuals around him. His willingness to quit his job and coach athletes really shows that he was never ever in it for the money. He had goals and stuck to them. You must respect a man who does this. All I can think of is how much joy he must have felt the day Ben Johnson crossed the finish line in 1988 and won the gold medal for Canada. All his hard work built up to that moment and nobody can take that moment away from him.

I gained a thorough understanding of training from this man… however, one of the most important points from his videos is the positive reinforcement he brings. His communication and dealings with people is just as valuable as the training ideas he had.

Rest in peace my friend… your philosophies have changed the face of all athletics as we know it. I’m thankful to have lived and learned with such a remarkable individual.

I am saddened, and selfishly disappointed as I was hoping to be able to learn from him in person.

RIP Charlie

I wish I could find the right words; Charlie Francis is impossible to sum up neatly. I still can’t believe how generous and kind he was even to people like myself who are still on the very early part of the learning curve. He always seemed to give just the right amount of information, and never made me feel stupid for asking (sometimes admittedly dumb) questions. I also loved that dry sense of humour (“The swiss ball is excellent as a flotation device!” LOL).

I grew up in Scarborough, right near where the Optimists trained at Birchmount Park. Ben was my childhood hero. I still have trouble comprehending the sheer scope of Charlie and the Optimists accomplishments; they literally took on the world and beat them without the money, technology, and resources of the Eastern Bloc, and without the volume of athletes and the sheer political clout of the USA’s enormous TV contracts. I remember even as a kid thinking, “Wow, the fastest man in the world comes from MY suburb. That is amazing!”

With all Charlie’s friends worldwide, I don’t know if you can quite understand how unheard of it is for a guy who grew up in wealthy, white Rosedale with a Stanford degree no less, to be hanging out in working-class Scarborough coaching a bunch of poor Caribbean kids- and for no money!

There are only a few, most notably former running great and current academic Bruce Kidd, who have said some negative things about Charlie this week, accusing Charlie of being motivated by ego, among other things. Well there is obvious jealousy there- but I would also note a subtle undercurrent of racism in many of the comments- it’s as if the people Charlie coached, being largely Caribbean and first generation immigrants, should have known their place and been happy being decent international runners, and shouldn’t have reached for the stars.

It’s a very Canadian thing, expecting people (especially immigrants of colour) to know their place and not stand out too much.

It seems pretty clear that Charlie had no time for academics who fired potshots from the safety of their ivory towers. He was too busy working for free, hustling for funding, giving massages, and later in life helping athletes and his coaching brethren from around the globe to bother with the likes of ass-sitting academics like Kidd.

Charlie was the David that slew the Goliath’s of the track world, and it gives me great pride to know I was able to learn from, and interact with, the greatest athletics coach of all time. I look forward to learning more from those he mentored in the future.

My deepest regrets go out to Angie and James. Seeing Charlie, Angie, and James at the track, I was always aware of how much they loved each other. What a lovely family.

Also seeing the way Charlie, Ben and Angella Issajenko and his other athletes remained close was incredible. They remain so loyal to him. Seeing them sharing laughs at the track just a short time ago was a beautiful thing.

Thank you Charlie for everything, you will eventually be seen by the masses as we see you- a gentleman, an athletics genius, and a coaching prophet. Of course, you know better than to fault the masses- you were simply ahead of your time.

Dear Friends of our forum

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints in the snow ( Ange is laying in those glints in her avatar)
I am the sunligh on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awaken in the morining’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. i did not die

Hey everyone!
" just keep chipping away" ( CF)
thanks for all your support.
aka that is what Charlie would say.

by Mary Elizabeth Frye


My sincere condolances. Fortunately Charlie was so open in sharing his ideas and knowledge that all of it will continue to live in us for the years to come. Thank you.