Gustav Schwenk, one of the most highly regarded athletics journalists of all time - and the man who played a key part in the setting of a 100 metres world record - has died in Düsseldorf aged 91.
Schwenk was honoured at the London 2012 Games for reporting on a record 15 Summer Olympics in a Ceremony attended by Lamine Diack, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, and Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee.
One of the unique highlights of a career that began at the Sport-Informations-Dienst news agency in 1947 was his intervention at the Zurich meeting in 1960 when Germany's Armin Hary clocked what would have been a world record of 10.00sec for the 100m, only for the time not to be officially recognised due to his alleged false start.
But Schwenk successfully petitioned for a re-run later in the evening, in which Hary - who would claim the Olympic gold later that year - officially claimed the record in exactly the same time.
Theo Rous, Honorary President of the German Athletics Federation, wrote in paying tribute to Schwenk: "He was not only a chronicler of athletics - he was, and remains, a piece of athletics history in itself."
Rous recalls the incident at the 1960 Zurich meeting when the starter ruled Hary's first effort a false start, but did not fire the recall gun.
"At that time," he added, "a colleague wrote: 'Suddenly, the German journalist waved the rule book and drew attention to the possibility of a rerun.' And Armin Hary was again 10.0 seconds.
"It was not just the facts and figures which interested Gustav. He was always trying to foster knowledge of contexts and backgrounds."
Schwenk, news of whose death on January 11 was delayed at the request of his family until after his funeral, personally witnessed more than 300 world records during his time at SID and subsequently as an independent journalist, mainly for Rheinische Post, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Kicker and the German specialist athletics publication Leichtathletik.
Schwenk reported from his first Olympic Games in Helsinki, 1952 and attended every subsequent Summer Games except Beijing.
He covered nearly all European and World Athletics Championships, as well as 63 consecutive German National Championships - a record unlikely to be bettered - and was writing his inimitable historical reviews and commentaries for Leichtathletik until very recently.
Asked in 2012 how he managed to be so continually productive, he replied with a laugh: "It's very easy. For me, writing is like mental jogging. It keeps me young."
He was able to recount countless stories about any top athlete, stories of their families and friends, for athletes from the early days of athletics right to the present.
The IAAF honoured him as the inaugural World Athletics Journalist in 2009, an award he was especially proud of.
Awards had followed him throughout his journalistic life, from the German Athletics Association's Golden Pin in 1959, the Carl Diem Plaque in 1984 and the Heinz Cavalier Prize in 1987 to the IAAF's Plaque of Merit in 2007.
In addition to covering athletics and handball, Schwenk was also actively engaged in pushing organisers to provide the best possible working conditions for his profession.
He was a founding member of the AIPS Athletics Commission from 1962 and a member of the IAAF Press Commission from 1991 to 2006.
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