Born in Cardiff in 1967, Colin Jackson enjoyed a long, illustrious career during which he was a force majeure in the 110-metre hurdling division, outdoors, and the 60-metre hurdling division, indoors. Outdoors, he was world champion twice, in Stuttgart, Germany in 1993 and in Seville, Spain in 1999 and, indoors, world champion once, in Maebashi, Japan in 1999. Indeed, when winning the gold medal at the 1993 World Championships, Jackson set a new world record, 12.91 seconds, which would not be equalled until 2004 and not beaten until 2006. The following year, in Sindelfingen, Germany, he also set a new indoor world record for the 60-metres hurdles, 7.30 seconds, which was not beaten until 2021.
Of course, Jackson was also a multiple European and Commonwealth champion, so to say that he ‘underchieved’ during his athletics career does him a huge injustice. However, the fact remains that he competed at four consecutive Summer Olympic Games, but came away with a medal – and only a silver medal, at that – once. The closest Jackson came to winning Olympic gold was in Seoul, South Korea in 1988, when he finished runner-up to defending champion Roger Kingdom, although Kingdom ran 12.98 seconds to win by three metres.
Jackson tried again in Barcelona in 1992 but, having won his heat in a time of 13.10 seconds and finished second to eventual gold medallist Mark McKoy in his semi-final in a time of 13.19 seconds, was only seventh in the final in a time of 13.46 seconds. He fared a little better in Atlanta in 1996; his time in the final, 13.19 seconds, was no match for the new Olympic record, 12.95 seconds, set by by gold medallist Allen Johnson, but missed the bronze medal by an agonising 0.02 seconds. Jackson made his final attempt, at the age of 33, in Sydney in 2000, finishing fifth in 13.28 seconds.