H. Robert H. Stinson, M.B.E (Getty Images) © Copyright
Iaaf News Monaco

Athletics world mourns the death of Robert Stinson

It is with the deepest sadness that the IAAF was informed today of the death of Robert Stinson, its former Treasurer, and an IAAF Honorary Life Vice President since 2003, who following a long illness died in his sleep on the night of 3rd / 4th April.

H. Robert H. Stinson, M.B.E (GBR – born 15 March 1931) was a solicitor by profession, and lived his life as a passionate supporter and administrator of Athletics both at national and international level.

Educated at Cambridge, Stinson regularly competed in the early 1950s in the 220 yards hurdles in the Varsity match against Oxford University, and was a member of the world famous Achilles Club which composes members of the athletics clubs of both universities. He retained his involvement with the club all his life, holding a number of positions including Chairman, and remained Vice President at the time of his passing.

Stinson’s work as honorary team manager of the club for most of the 1950s and 60s, led to his chairmanship of the British Athletics League (1969 -1972) of which he was one of the founding fathers. He became Honorary Assistant Treasurer of the British Amateur Athletic Board (BAAB; at that time the IAAF Member Federation for the UK) in 1972 (until 1977) and after as its Honorary Secretary (1977 -1979). Head of delegation and manager for GBR & NI teams at many international meetings and championships in the 1970s, from 1979 he became a Life Vice President. When BAAB was replaced by the British Athletic Federation as the IAAF MF, he was also made a Life Member of the new governing body.

Most significantly, as chairman of the Finance Committee of the BAAB (1979 – 1987), Stinson was the architect of athlete trust funds which were at the core of the sport’s transition from the amateur to the professional era.

During the 1980s Stinson engaged his passion and administrative skills for the benefit of Athletics at international level, firstly as a member of the IAAF Juridical Working Group in 1981, and in 1984 was elected as IAAF Honorary Treasurer, a role on the Council which he would hold with distinction until standing down in 2003.

As a Council Member, he was also a member of the IAAF Marketing Working Group and then Marketing Commission (from 1984 until 2003), IAAF Finance and Budget Commission (1991-2003) and IAAF Development Commission (1995-2003). He was IAAF Organisation Delegate to the IAAF World Championships (1983 to 1999), and served in the same role at all the World Indoor and World Junior Championships and IAAF World Cups during the same period.

In 1986, Stinson became a Council Member of the International Athletic Foundation (IAF) and his profession in the law, led to his appointment as the convenor of IAF International Symposium on Sport and Law in 1991. He remained an Honorary Member of the IAF at the time of his death.

Honoured in the UK with the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), the IAAF awarded him with the Veteran Pin in 1989, with the IAAF Silver Order of Merit in 2001, and he was appointed as an IAAF Honorary Life Vice President in 2003.

Among the many international distinctions he received, in 1988 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law by the Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada, while his athletic honours included the Orden del Atletismo Sudamericano "Dirigente Distinguindo" and the Prince Chichibu Order of Japan.

“With Robert’s death the world has lost one of its true gentlemen, and it’s a much sadder place for his passing,” commented IAAF President Lamine Diack. “His lifelong contribution to Athletics cannot be underestimated. He was a tireless worker who lived and breathed for our sport, and helped to usher in the professional era and modern sport we have today. After his long illness Robert is now peacefully at rest joining his wife Susan who sadly passed away last year. We offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and friends.”

A memorial service will be held later in the year.