George McNeill

George McNeill started his sporting career as a professional footballer playing part time with Hibs, Morton & Stirling Albion. George is now a very accomplished after dinner speaker.


He gave up his football to concentrate on athletics. Because he had signed professional forms as a footballer, he was banned from running as an amateur. He therefore had to concentrate on the professional running circuit.
He started by winning the 1970 centenary "Powderhall Sprint" in Edinburgh, which is the oldest and most renowned professional race.
After his victory at Powderhall he continued to improve to world class times and in August of 1970 he set a new professional world record for 120 yards at the press charities sports at Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh.

On January 1st 1971 he ran 110 metres in 11.00 sec's which Equates to around 10 seconds for the more popular 100 metres.


In 1972 he won the world professional sprint title when he defeated Olympic gold medallist Tommie Smith in a four race series at Wakefield. Throughout the seventies he continued to run on the relatively small highland games circuit in Scotland as well as travelling to the more lucrative professional scene in Australia.


In 1975 he had the opportunity to run against world class opposition when the newly formed International Track Circuit came to the UK.
Chris Brasher writing about George in the Sunday Observer Recalled:

" The professionals came to London on Friday and made me angry. Angry because I saw the best British sprinter since McDonald Bailey and knew that this talent had been wasted. Angry because I saw one of those rare men who lift sport into the realms of art and knew that his talent is being wasted, angry because such a waste is surely a crime. McNeill, the greatest native born sprinter I have ever seen in Britain has never been allowed to compete for his country or indeed against the best talent in Britain.
He has been relegated to the small professional circuit in Scotland where, with the exception of the Powderhall Sprint, he has earned only enough to cover his expenses.


On Friday he was with them, battling it out at 90 metres and only tying up with unfamiliar pressure over the last few metres to the tape. McNeill proved he is in the same class as Hines, a dual Olympic gold medallist."

George went on to win the biggest professional race in the world in 1981, when he won the "Stawell Gift" in Australia. By coincidence this was also in its centenary year.


Throughout his career he also had to run the small family business where his training as a chartered quantity surveyor was put to good use. Since retiring from athletics George has involved himself with coaching football teams such as Heart Of Midlothian and currently Livingston F.C.

George is a very popular and more than accomplished after dinner speaker, ideal for Sportsmans Dinner evenings and also as a Motivational Speaker. 


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