Australian Olympic historian Harry Gordon dies

THE Australian Olympic historian, war correspondent and newspaper editor, Harry Gordon, has died aged 89.

Once one of Australia’s youngest war reporters, Gordon was 24 when he was sent to cover the Korean War in 1950.

Over a long career, he edited several newspapers, including Melbourne’s Sun News-Pictorial, and wrote 15 books. He was also the official historian of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).

Gordon had been receiving treatment for respiratory and other complaints.

The AOC on Thursday described Gordon as one of Australia’s most admired and accomplished journalists and Olympic writers.

“Harry became the doyen of Australian Olympic journalists and was recognised around the world,” the AOC said in a statement.

AOC president John Coates described Gordon’s life as a “gold medal performance”.

“Harry guided me in my thinking in many of the initiatives the AOC has taken over the years,” said Mr Coates.

Gordon formerly held the positions of editor-in-chief of both the Herald and Weekly Times newspaper group in Melbourne, and Queensland Newspapers in Brisbane. He was also chairman of the Australian Associated Press agency.

He was known as a dynamic and compassionate correspondent and editor, and a great mentor to many aspiring journalists. His Olympic credentials date to 1952, when he covered the Games in Helsinki after the Korean War.

When he stepped aside from his career as editor, he returned to covering the Olympics, starting with the 1988 Seoul Games and continuing through to London in 2012.

In 1999, he was awarded the AOC’s highest award, the Order of Merit, and in 2001 he received the International Olympic Committee’s highest honour, the Olympic Order, for outstanding service to the Games.

His 1994 book, Australia and the Olympic Games, is considered by many as an Olympic bible.

Gordon is survived by his wife, Joy, and children, Michael, John and Sally. His funeral is expected to held on the Gold Coast where he lived, and will be followed by a memorial service in Melbourne.

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