Jon Ridgeon, the brilliant Belgrave sprint hurdler who represented Great Britain at the 1988 and 1996 Olympics, is to be the new CEO of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Born in 1967, he came to the fore in the early 80s, setting junior records over the 60m and 110m hurdles.
His first victory came in the European Junior Championships held at Cottbus in 1985 with a winning time of 13.46s. His next success was at the 1986 World U20 Championships, held in Athens, where he won silver with a time of 13.91s. The following year he competed in the World Student Games in Zagreb which he won in 13.29s (a British record).
He won silver at the 1987 World Championships in Rome, one place ahead of a young Colin Jackson.
The following year he was a podium prospect at the 1988 Seoul Olympics but finished 5th in a time of 13.52s. Jon still ranks 7th on the GB all-time 110H list with his time of 13.29s.
International success with Belgrave
In 1989 Jon started a long friendship with Belgrave patron Sir Eddie Kulukundis and became a Belgrave member competing in BAL League and Cup fixtures.
During this period his achilles problems started and he moved up to the 400H. After a couple of seasons gaining endurance fitness he began to make his mark, finishing second at the World Cup in Cuba with a time of 49.01.
Later in the year he also gained silver at the European Cup with 49.84s. Now on a high, he set a PB of 48.73s in Rieti, Italy, in September 1992. This time still ranks him 9th on the GB all time list for the 400H.
In May 1996, months before representing his country at the Olympics in Atlanta, Jon competed for Belgrave at the European Champion Club’s Cup in Istanbul, finishing second in a time of 50.07
He also ran a leg in the sprint relay team. Belgrave finished third in this top European clubs event – the highest placing recorded by a GB club on the mainland.
In 1997 the BMC organised an invitation 800m for one-lap specialists. Held on a cold afternoon on Jan 18th there was a dash for one lap and then the wheels fell off. Despite this Jon finished third in a time of 1.54.7. It doesn’t seem that he repeated this challenge – so another pb.
Since retiring from competition, Jon has worked in sports-related companies and has retained a close relationship with prominent European figures in athletics.
In 1998, he co-founded Fast Track, a sports marketing firm, which was sold in 2007.
The IAAF credits Jon with “transforming British Athletics in 1998 to the most commercially successful athletics governing body in the world, which included brokering multi-million pound sponsorship and broadcast deals.”
He has presented and commentated on athletics across BBC TV and radio, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.Embed from Getty Images
With good networking skills, Jon was a promising candidate for the recently vacated post of CEO of the IAAF. He gained unanimous support for that appointment and was duly elected by the Council. He starts in March 2019 and Belgrave wishes him all success as the sport moves forward.
(Note. In 2001 the 4×400 club record was smashed at the European Champion Clubs Cup held in Madrid. The record now stands at 3:05:53.. Splits: Geoff Dearman 48.2, Tim Bayley 46.4, Chris Rawlinson 45.5, Sean Baldock 45.5.)