On Sunday July 22nd 2012 the triathlon community lost a gem. Robert George passed away peacefully from a heart attack.
It is always a shock to hear such news. I had seen Rob a few months ago at the Byron Bay triathlon leading the technical team and engaging in his wonderful way with athletes, race crew and officials.
Rob was an impressive footballer in the Sydney competition until he retired in the mid-1990s, and while his footy mates made the transition to more "age appropriate" sports such as bowls and golf, Rob chose marathon running and triathlons.
In typical fashion Rob looked for ways that he could contribute to his sport, and it wasn't long before his leadership and mentoring skills were utilised first as a race director with the Panthers Triathlon Club and then as an official reaching NTO level. Rob gave so much more to our sport than he took from it.
Rob worked tirelessly at local, interstate and international events. He was a valuable team player, with a balanced and gentle approach which inspired confidence within the group. Rob was a mentor and role model to many fellow technical officials. He taught us all the value of tolerance in every aspect. I know I never heard a harsh word said about Rob.
There were countless displays of Rob’s abilities. Suzie Bower (NTC – Tas.) fondly remembers Rob's good grace under pressure at the Age Group bike check in on the Saturday at the Sydney Triathlon where they faced getting 2,500 athletes checked into transition in a very short time frame. The pressure was on, as everyone was lined up in the heat for an hour before they were allowed in. His sense of humour won over the crowd and they got them in... in under 30 minutes!
As a result Rob presented Suzie with a mini Boost bar, chocolate award. This meant so much to her as it was an acknowledgment of their team work against the odds. This was typical of Rob to acknowledge others.
The triathlon technical community will always remember Rob. For those who knew him, remember him with a smile and be thankful for his extensive contribution to our programme and sport. It was a privilege knowing Rob and he will be sorely missed.
Image courtesy of Triathlon Australia