By MIKE HURST
SPRINT coach Charlie Francis is coming to Sydney to present a two-day seminar.
But coaches on Athletics Australia’s payroll have been warned off attending Francis’s lectures.
Francis coached Ben Johnson to set a 100m world record of 9.79sec at the 1988 Seoul Olympics before forfeiting both the gold medal and record.
NSW Central Coast athletics coach Paul Nancarrow is funding Francis’s trip which will see him conduct seminars in Sydney on January 6-7, Melbourne (Jan 13-14) and the Gold Coast (Jan 20-21).
AA chief executive Danny Corcoran told The Sunday Telegraph:
As part of Athletics Australia all our coaches will be distancing themselves from these seminars. We’re not putting out a note, but we’re not encouraging people to attend. It’s a private tour but we’re distancing ourselves from it.’’
In so doing, they may be protecting their public image but will be denying themselves information which has produced all five of history’s 9.7 performers.
To quote from the seminar flier: ``. . . what does he know about sprinting and why should anyone in Australia listen?
``Everyone knows he produced Ben Johnson _ the first athlete to dip into the 9.7s all those years ago.
``But he also once coached John Smith [for a year in 1981 in Toronto] who produced the second 9.7 man, Maurice Greene.
``Francis designed the training program used by the third man to run 9.7, Tim Montgomery. And Montgomery’s coach Trevor Graham _ part of the team that hired Francis _ is now coaching the fifth 9.7 man, Justin Gatlin.
``The fourth 9.7 runner is Asafa Powell. When a L’Equipe [the French sports daily] representative caught up with his coach, Steven[sic:Stephen] Francis [no relation] after Powell’s first record last year, he had Charlie Francis’s coaching manual in his hands.’’
Charlie Francis yesterday told The Telegraph:``These men were after the training methods and that’s all I’ll be talking about when I come to Australia.
". . . I’d like to move on to teach coaches how to plan their training programs and how to make their athletes technically proficient.’’
Francis has also worked with an array of NFL teams including the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, St Louis Rams, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos and the Dallas Cowboys.
He was also employed at various times with the Chicago Bulls during their golden reign in the NBA from 1987 to 1995.
Nancarrow said he has been shocked at the enthusiastic reaction to the Francis visit, with some strength and conditioning coaches from NRL, AFL and Super 14 teams already signing up for the $250 seminars.