Peter Cullen : Javelin

Peter attended Rotherham Grammar school, and lived in East Dene.

He was introduced to field events by his PE teacher at the school.

He first achieved recognition as a competitor in the long jump. After winning the English schools title in 1949 – with a new record of 21 feet 6 and a half inches, Peter was invited to join a national training squad.

He was a member of the club during the 1950s.

In 1950 he won the English Schools High Jump with 5ft 10 inches.

Again in 1950 he came joint first in the NCAA Junior javelin championships with a throw of 200 ft 9 inches.


Peter placed 2nd in the 1955 World Student Games final. He won the Inter counties javelin title in both 1955 and 1956.


Peter won the AAA javelin title in both 1956 (Distance converted to 65.28m)  and 1957 ( 72.11m).


He represented Great Britain in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, where he finished 20th , failing to qualify for the final, with a best throw of 62.77m. The final was won by Egil Danielson of Norway with a throw of 85.71m – a new Olympic and World record. Peter had commented prior to the Olympics that he expected the winning throw to be considerably further than the current records, and was proved right.

Peter was the first ever Olympian to come from Rotherham.

 When he appeared on “Sportsnight” with the host Cliff Michelmore, in 1956 to mark his success, he commented “The only drawback is that it is so difficult to find anywhere to practice the javelin in Rotherham” He did practice in a field near his home, and on the school field at Wath grammar school where he now taught English and Physical education.

 In May 1957 Peter again set a new British National and English native record in the javelin, at the Inter county championships at the White City, of 228 ft 6 inches.

At the AAA’s championships some weeks later his new record was beaten three times by Colin Smith, 21 from Middlesex. However Peter threw 236 ft 7 inches to retake the record. It is not known if any other record has been broken four times at the same meeting!

 Peter had improved the national record by over twenty feet in three years.


In 1958 Peter represented England in the Empire and Commonwealth Games – held at Cardiff. – where he finished 6th in the final with a best throw of 219 ft 6 inches. The winner was Colin Smith of England, 233 ft 10 inches.


In 1959 he won the NCAA Decathlon Champs, held at Doncaster with 4960 points.

 The picture (The only one we can find) was taken at that event.