Steve Parry: “one of the best”

From Barry Newcombe at Wembley
Steve Parry, the former sports editor of Reuters and widely regarded and praised as one of the most influential figures in the development of press operations at the Olympic Games, was warmly remembered in a memorial service at Wembley stadium yesterday.

Parry died on the eve of this year’s Beijing Olympic Games. He was 64. It was his contribution to the Olympics starting at the Mexico City Games in 1968 which drew tributes. Kevan Gosper, chairman of the IOC press commission, described Parry as a “full character” and said: “The IOC owes an enormous amount to Steve Parry, he was one of the best and the brightest.”

Anthony Edgar, the IOC director of press operations, said that Parry’s role as a consultant to the IOC after he retired from Reuters meant that he created a considerable influence in where and what the Press should be doing and how their contribution should be recognised by successive host cities. Edgar reminded the audience that the Beijing Olympics had been the fourth largest news story this year.

Edgar highlighted the fact that the tributes to Parry were being made at Wembley stadium (in the Eastside pitch restaurant) because it was the setting for the 1948 Games “which saved the Olympic movement”. He also said that Parry did a lot to help the London bid for the 2012 Games.

Parry’s widow Dianne reminded his friends that he had grown up in Wembley just a few hundred yards away and in 1948 could be seen heading off to the stadium on his tricycle.

Other speakers were Jacqui Brock-Doyle, press director for LOCOG, who said that a room in the 2012 complex would be named after him, and Paul Radford, who succeeded Parry as sports editor at Reuters.

The citation to Parry read: “The Olympic Games and the Olympic movement were his life blood and he was as important to them as they were to him. He left us before his time but with dignity we will let him go because he would not have wanted to spend his life in any other way than actively participating.”

The audience watched videos of the tributes to Parry at the special party in his honour in Beijing and also saw a clip of him in EastEnders – he was an Equity card holder.

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