Coe and Ovett’s Olympic debt to bureaucrat who defied Thatcher | Andy Bull

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British Olympic Association chairman Sir Denis Follows was determined not to join the Moscow Games boycott in 1980, to the fury of the prime minister

Sir Denis Follows, 71, short and bald, started every day’s work by opening his post. It was a habit he’d had as secretary of the Football Association, and a habit he kept as chairman of the British Olympic Association. In between the two jobs, he’d been knighted. Which was some going, for the son of a stationmaster, but it hadn’t changed him much. He still wore a pair of thick horn rims, still worried about putting on weight, was still the same avuncular, pragmatic man who had kept the Jules Rimet trophy under his bed and carried it out to Mexico 70 in his briefcase. And he still had the same set of principles.

First among them his idea that sport was above politics. Follows was so ­adamant about this that his own daughter still isn’t sure which way he voted, and that adamancy made him one of the key figures in what the Labour parliamentarian Denis Howell described as “the most epic political battle in which I have ever been engaged”.

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Written by Andy Bull
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2020/mar/28/coe-and-ovetts-olympic-debt-to-bureaucrat-who-defied-thatcher under the title “

Coe and Ovett’s Olympic debt to bureaucrat who defied Thatcher | Andy Bull

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