The Notable - Tommy Farrell – (1943 - 1951)
FARRELL went to his third
Olympic Games in the summer
of 1972 - 16 years after
his first Olympic experience - all
thanks to the power of prayer.
Tommy was a Quarry Bank schoolteacher who
ran in the 400m hurdles
in Melbourne in 1956, then
the 800m four years later
He had long since hung up his running
spikes in 1972 when he got the
call to return to the Games arena
in Munich - this time as
one of a team of eight chaplains
to be on hand to offer spiritual
advice to competitors.
Then curate of St Peter's Church
in Woolton, The Rev Farrell
admitted: "I believe it is legitimate
to pray before an event. I used
to pray before an event that I
wouldn't fall or do anything soft.
But I never prayed for victory - that
would be unfair. I just wanted to do my best."
Farrell never needed spiritual assistance when
he was breaking national records
- including the British 400m hurdles
mark running under the Liverpool
He was a Harrier when he represented
Great Britain in Melbourne
1956 as a hurdler - and he still
had the Liver Bird on his chest
four years later when he went to
Rome as a half-miler and
reached the 800m quarter-finals. His reasoning
for the switch was admirably honest. "The
Olympic 400m hurdles will be won in
about 49.2 seconds," he said. "Which
means that to come near that you
have to be able to run a quarter
of a mile in 46 seconds. I cannot
in the build up to Rome he did
beat AAA title holder Brian Hewson
in the 880 yards.
On June 15, 1960 Farrell, who had
earlier won 800m and 400m invitation events
during the British Games, raced over
400m hurdles in an England v
Italy match at London's White
City in UK record time of
A month later he won his second AAA
championship, this time over 880 yards.
As a result he decided to make 800m
his objective for Rome and made the
team - ironically the day after his
national quarter-mile hurdles record had
Born in Moscow Drive, Stoneycroft,
he taught at various schools, including
Quarry Bank and Maghull
- and in his early athletic days
as a pupil of Liverpool Collegiate
School, his main events were sprints
and long jump.
finished fourth in the All England
Schools Long Jump final with a
leap of 20 feet four inches -
and soon after switched to the quarter
He always modestly insisted that he wasn't
the best athlete in the Farrell family.
Tom was Collegiate School's Victor Ludorum
in 1951, emulating the performance
of his father 30 years earlier, who
was described by his son as 'a
better all-round athlete than he could
ever hope to be.'
Farrell senior must have been some athlete,
although he couldn't claim to have
been at three Olympic Games!
(A note from Webby)
We don't usually add a comment from the recipient of this Notable Section. However, to set a precedent , here is Tommy’s opinion of our efforts :-
I’ve looked at the website blurb. Well put together! Could have done with blocking out those knobbly knees! I hope it’s a plus for the old school, and other OBs will enjoy it.
And now I know what a jpg is!