Charlie Francis has died

An award winning photo of Charlie from 1965, courtesy of Jim Griffin.

Wow Awsome picture!

Very well said.

I’m one of them… I would have quit running after collage had I not found this website. There is just NOTHING in the marketplace on how to properly train as a sprinter year around in edition to how to recover, what to eat, ect ect.

I was just amazed that CHARLIE HIMSELF would respond to questions; along with his wife. Personally I think it’s amazing that he accomplished so much but yet remained simple and humble enough to talk to unknown joe blows like me. I can say the same for other big guys on this forum like No2, PJ and KitKat.

I mean, I can’t just converse with Michel Jordan, or his coach; even if I could, I probably would not want to because many men that make it that far in life become so arrogant and full of themselves.

Well, I’m deep into studying ancient history in my spare time and it’s just a part of earthly existence were certain men (or women) come along and elevate the conciseness of a group of people, or they help a group of people conquer another grope of people then the person dies but knowledge/spirit lives on through somebody else but just in a different way. Some knowledge does get lost however, but I digress.

Look at Genghis Khan and all he accomplished, after he died, somebody from his camp had to pick up the pieces and keep moving with it. As a matter of fact, Mr. Khan is still here with us today as million of people are a blood decedents due to his conquest.

My whole point however is that a new “master mind” will emerge and build on what Charlie did.

I doubt it but goodluck…

Very Sad News. RIP He will most certainly be missed. :frowning:

I’m sure people said the same with Lloyd Winters and other good coaches before him. I will admit however, we may not see another “master mind” in our lifetime.

Most people aren’t willing to share there knowledge the way Charlie did for many years…

He was obviously brilliant when it came to anything to do with athletic performance. I was amazed at the breadth of his knowledge in other areas. He was keen to talk about politics, economics, old movies, etc. I will certainly cherish the memories of the times I went to TO to work with him. There are a lot of good coaches, but only one Charlie. He was a trailblazer. He went against the status quo, and as a result, many thought he was crazy. Vertical Integration was Charlie’s baby. How many great coaches can say they have a system like CFTS, that is something we can all use. He advocated truth and honesty, which is such a fleeting thing these days. I respected him for making a stand and sticking to it, regardless of how he was perceived. The main stream media pisses me off because all they can talk about is the scandal, nothing of the brilliance of him, his generosity, his caring. The only article worthy of him was the Toronto Sun piece. It paints him more accurately. I was lucky to have been able to call him my mentor and friend. RIP Charlie.

I’m truly shattered! He gave me knowledge, inspiration and set me up with a chance at big time coaching. Just like that, an unknown kid from Serbia. He touched my life in a major way. Even though I’ve never met him in person, I’m happy that he at least got my thanks via email. I can’t think of a single person in the world of coaching that has left such a legacy.
You will never be forgotten Charlie

From: The Sydney Daily Telegraph May 14, 2010 12:00AM

By Mike Hurst

I RECEIVED an email from Charlie Francis on Monday. He was excited about starting stem-cell therapy for the cancer he had been battling for the past five years.

“The stem-cell match came through, literally at the 11th hour,” he wrote. “I’ll be in the hosp for the first of 3 hits starting tonight for about a week with 3 week gaps in between - then I get the huge hit and they try to save me with the stem cells they now have.”

I awoke yesterday morning to the news of Charlie’s death. Like 10,824 members of his internet coaching forum (, 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.

“I’m not going to perjure myself,” he told me back in 1989 as he was called to testify at Canada’s judicial inquiry into doping in sport which became known as the Dubin Inquiry.

“There is a level playing field out there. It’s just not the playing field you think it is,” he told Justice Charles Dubin back then, the implication being that if all the medal contenders are using dope, then ultimately it must come down to who has the best coach and training program.

And 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.

When Ben Johnson’s lawyer tried to get his client out of the Dubin Inquiry smelling like roses he presented Ben as mentally incompetent and thereby unable to understand that he was taking a banned product. Charlie quipped to me: “Ben is trying to demonstrate diminished capacity by his choice of lawyer.”

Johnson, who eventually admitted knowingly taking banned drugs, was at Charlie’s side in hospital shortly before he died.

His wife, Ange, told me Charlie, 61, died after contracting an infection following chemotherapy to annihilate the cancer as a prelude to receiving the stem-cell treatment.

“It was fast, peaceful, not too much pain,” Ange said.

"It was literally within hours. James [their 11-year-old son] and I were by his side.

“Charlie was totally lucid. I was crying. He said, ‘Don’t cry sweetie … it’s been a good run’.”

That’s probably the best piece i have read on Charlie. They capture his humour with that quote about the lawyer and also the facts. The one thing they forget to mention is he did it all because he thought it was the best thing for his athletes - whether we deem it right or wrong. A fitting tribute.

At first I thought this was a sick joke. I really am surprised, because
members where asking him all kinds of questions and he always took the time to answer them. I never knew or met him personally but my current coach (and his old coach) always said that Charlie Francis is/was a brilliant man and that sprinter(coaches) could learn a lot from him.

My condolences go out to his family and friends.


bless you Charlie Francis


My coaching will always be based on the teachings of Charlie Francis.

am totally regards to angie and her son.

Nice picture of Charlie in this obituary in the New York Times.

I found this passage, explaining Charlie’s profound sense of justice, compelling:

Richard Pound, a former vice president of the I.O.C., said Francis became increasingly frustrated in the late 1970s and ’80s with what he felt was a lack of response from international track officials — then known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation — in punishing athletes who used performance-enhancing drugs.

“He and a number of the Canadian folks tried to talk the I.A.A.F. into life bans, and the I.A.A.F. refused to budge,” Pound said. “So he went over to the dark side. He said, ‘I’m not going to have my runners start a meter behind.’ ”

RIP Charlie, We’ll miss you

Thank You.