VALE Ray Weinberg
ATHLETICS: The Australian Olympic Committee is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of dual Olympian and Olympic official Raymond ‘Ray’ Weinberg, aged 91.
At the age of 21, Ray placed ninth in the 110m hurdles at his debut Olympic Games at London 1948, and helped Australia finish seventh in the men’s 4x100m relay.
Four years later at Helsinki 1952 he bettered his individual hurdles result to sixth place, while helping the Team finish 13th and 17th respectively in the 4x400m and 4x100m relays.
At that stage, ray held the world record for the 220 yard hurdles, and the national 110m hurdles record – an Australian record he held on to for 20 years. He was ranked in the top 8 hurdlers in the world for four years.
In between his two Olympic appearances, the Victorian sprinter married fellow athlete Shirley Ogle in 1950, and the pair had three children - Raymond 'Brett', Michelle and Timothy – during their 68 years of marriage.
Ray’s close friend and Helsinki teammate, the former Governor of South Australia Mrs Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC, paid tribute to the remarkable contribution he made to sport in Australia.
“How saddened I was to hear of the passing of Ray, he was a great friend and teammate of 1952,” Mrs. Jackson-Nelson said.
“His contribution to the sport of athletics, which he loved with great passion, is to be commended.
“His guidance over the years has been greatly appreciated by our up and coming athletes. He was a man of great wisdom, integrity and a proud Australian.
“I pass on my sincere sympathy to Shirley and the family.”
After he hung up the spikes, Ray was a commentator at the Tokyo 1964 and Moscow 1980 Games. In 1968 he returned to the Australian Olympic Team in an official capacity, as the Head Coach and Manager of the Athletics Team, where his 25-athlete team won seven medals between them.
In 2000, he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution as an athlete and official. He was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2002.
In the lead up to the Rio 2016 Games, Ray was still an active member of the Olympic community, and shared his Olympic memories and imparted words of wisdom on the next generation at the 2015 Ignite Session.
Ray was also instrumental in the creation of the iconic Australian Olympic pins that are collected and traded at every Olympic Games.
At his first Games in 1948, he saw other countries trading pins, but the Australian Team did not. Having been picked for the 1952 Games, Ray designed and produced Australia’s very first Olympic lapel pin that became very successful and sought after by collectors world-wide. His design of the kangaroo, above the word "Australia", and the Olympic rings, has been copied by numerous Teams that have followed.