Sunday, 19 January 2014

5,000m world record holder dies at the age of 82

Sir Chris Chataway: Former British 5,000m world record holder dies
Former British athlete Sir Chris Chataway has died at the age of 82.
Chataway, who broke the 5,000m world record in 1954, is more famously remembered as the man who helped pace Sir Roger Bannister to breaking the four-minute mile barrier the same year.
He was named the first-ever BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1954.
Chataway, who also won the Commonwealth Games three miles title in 1954, was knighted for his services to the aviation industry in 1995.

Bannister led the tributes to "one of my best friends" who had been suffering from cancer for two and a half years.
"He was gallant to the end," Bannister told BBC Sport. "Our friendship dated back over more than half a century.
"We laughed, ran and commiserated together. People will always remember him for the great runner he was but it shouldn't be forgotten that he had an extremely distinguished career off the track.
"My family and I will miss him sorely and our thoughts go out to his family and many friends who were so fond of him."
Chataway was born in Chelsea on 31 January, 1931 and educated at Sherborne School in Dorset and, after National Service, at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he took an honours degree in politics, philosophy and economics and became president of the University Athletic Club.
His career in international athletics lasted only five years with the pinnacle being in 1954 when he broke the 5,000m world record and won Commonwealth gold and European silver.
He and Chris Brasher also paced Bannister to the first sub-four-minute mile but just one year on he was dividing his time between athletics and working in the world of broadcasting.
In September 1955, Chataway became the first newsreader on Independent Television, before finishing 11th in the 5000m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
He then moved in to politics, working as a Conservative MP between 1959 and 1966 and rising to serve in positions as a Parliamentary Private Secretary and junior Education Minister.

Chataway was elected again in 1969 and served further ministerial positions.
In 1974, Chataway retired from politics to concentrate on his business career, becoming managing director of Orion Bank in 1974 before leaving in 1988 to work as chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority.
BBC athletics commentator Brendan Foster said: "Sir Chris was a real gentleman and an intelligent man.
"As well as his sporting achievements, he was an expert broadcaster, politician and businessman. He was vice chairman of a London bank and chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority. He truly was a boys' own hero.
"He was thrilled to be the first BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1954. It came after his 5000m world record was broadcast from White City with that one spotlight on him on the line as he beat European Champion Vladimir Kuts at White City

Chataway's son Mark paid tribute to the resolve shown by his father in later life.
"We were struck by his amazing qualities of humility and strength, especially in these last few years," the 53-year-old said.
He also described his father as "a very compassionate and wise man" and said his father's passion for running remained with him in his advanced years.
"He ran with a couple of my brothers in the Great North Run about three years ago, doing it in a very respectable time."
He also completed the half marathon course of just over 13 miles in one hour, 38 minutes, 50 seconds at the age of 75 in 2006.
Chataway is survived by his sons Mark, Matthew, Adam, Charles, Ben, his daughter Joanna, his wife Carola and his former wife Anna.

Obituary: Christopher Chataway

Christopher Chataway was a high achiever who excelled in a number of fields. An Olympic athlete and one-time world 5,000m record holder, he was also a television reporter, a Conservative MP and a government minister.

Having also been a successful businessman and a chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority, he described himself in 2010 as having ''never made up my mind what I wanted to do".

Born in Chelsea in January 1931, Christopher Chataway was educated at Sherborne School in Dorset and, after National Service, at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he took an honours degree in politics, philosophy and economics and became president of the University Athletic Club.

He represented Great Britain in the Olympic Games in 1952 and 1956; he ran a memorable 5,000m race against Emil Zatopek and was a pacemaker when Roger Bannister ran the first four-minute mile in 1954.

Government minister
Later the same year, Chataway reached the peak of his running career with a victory over the Russian, Vladimir Kuts, establishing what was then a world record over 5,000m.

After working as a junior executive for a big firm of brewers, he joined Independent Television News in 1955 as a staff reporter, and then joined the BBC's television team as a commentator on current affairs, before eventually working on Panorama for four years.

Chataway entered Parliament in 1959 as Conservative member for North Lewisham. However, he lost his seat at the 1964 general election, and returned to television and journalism while establishing himself in local government.

In 1967, he became leader of the Greater London Council's Inner London Education Committee and, as such, he fought the Labour government's proposals for introducing a totally comprehensive system of schooling in London.

He returned to the House of Commons in 1969 after winning a by-election at Chichester, and became the opposition spokesman on the environment.

In the summer of 1970 he took a prominent part both in organising and presenting the Conservative Party's election broadcasts.

As minister of posts and telecommunications in the new government, Chataway became responsible for a Post Office that had recently been turned into a public corporation and was undergoing rapid but turbulent modernisation.

As minister he was also responsible for introducing local commercial radio stations.

Early retirement from politics
In April 1972, Chataway moved to the Department of Trade and Industry as minister in charge of the new industrial development executive, and was responsible for development in the regions and for virtually the whole of private sector industry, including computers, small firms and tourism.

Chataway retained his Chichester seat in at the general election of February 1974 but he did not seek re-election in the October election that year.

He thus bowed out of politics at the early age of 43, and went to work in the city where he held several directorships.

In 1976 he was appointed treasurer of the National Committee for Electoral Reform and in 1979, he became chairman of BT Systems. Two years later he took on the chairmanship of LBC.

In 1982, as vice-chairman of the Orion Royal Bank of Canada, he tried to rescue Laker Airways.

In June 1995, Chataway was given a knighthood for his services to the aviation industry in the Queen's Birthday Honours, having served as chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority.

He did not rest on his laurels however, as he also served as chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust, responsible for the upkeep of the UK's wartime code breaking museum.

Chataway had started running again in his 50s and at the age of 73 he was persuaded by former long-distance runner Brendan Foster to take part in the gruelling Great North Run, a race he continued to run for several years in aid of Vicky's Water Project, a fund-raising charity set up in the name of his son's fiancee who was killed in a road accident.

In comparing the experience with his youthful racing, Chataway said: "I sometimes think that running, which was a sort of tormentor in my youth, has returned to be a friendly codger in my old age - that what was Joe Stalin has turned into Dixon of Dock Green."

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