Brasher, Chris(topher William) 1928-2003
BRASHER, Chris(topher William) 1928-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born August 21, 1928, in Georgetown, British Guiana; died of cancer February 28, 2003, in Chaddleworth, Berkshire, England. Athlete, journalist, businessman, and author. Brasher was a track-and-field Olympic gold medalist who later became an award-winning sports writer. A graduate of St. John's College, Cambridge, where he received a B.A. in 1951, he was an avid outdoorsman, and his drive to meet physical challenges led him to head two expeditions to the Arctic when he was still in his early twenties. After graduating from college, he worked for Mobil Oil in London while preparing for the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, where he competed in the steeplechase. Although he received no medals, Brasher fell in love with the Games, a love that endured until the commercialization of the event palled his ardor. In 1954 Brasher ran as the pacesetter for Roger Bannister when Bannister became the first person to break the four-minute mile. Next, in 1956, he competed in the Olympics in Melbourne, and though many thought he was not the most talented runner, he captured the gold in the three-thousand-meter steeplechase. With a gold medal around his neck, Brasher was offered a job as sports editor for the London Observer in 1957. He worked there until 1961 and contributed articles to the paper until 1991. During the 1960s, Brasher was an editor for the British Broadcasting Corporation, rising to head of general features in 1969, and later worked as a freelance reporter and writer for both print and television where he won British Press awards as Sportswriter of the Year in 1968 and 1976. He also cofounded an athletic-shoe distribution company called Fleetfoot in 1970, as well as a business that sold compasses. After Reebok bought Fleetfoot in 1990, Brasher became the chairman of Reebok's British division from 1992 to 1994. More recently, he was appointed chairman of the Brasher Boot Company in 1993, and of Berghaus Ltd. from 1993 to 1998. Beginning in 1981 Brasher was the organizer of the first of many London Marathons, an event he directed until 1995. In addition to running, Brasher was also an enthusiast of horse racing, fishing, skiing, and mountaineering and was cofounder of the British Orienteering Federation. In addition to his sportswriting awards, he was honored with an appointment as Commander of the British Empire in 1996, was decorated an officer of the Order of St. John, and received the National Medal of Honor from Finland in 1975. Brasher was the author of several sports books, including Sportsmen of Our Time (1962) and Munich '72 (1972).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Writers Directory, 17th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2002.
Independent (London, England), March 1, 2003, obituary by Steven Downes, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2003, p. B19.
New York Times, March 1, 2003, p. A17.
Times (London, England), March 1, 2003, p. 48.
Washington Post, March 4, 2003, p. B5.