American T&F expert Scott Davis has died

Scott Davis, a larger-than-life American track and field statistician, announcer and journalist, has died after a 13-year battle with cancer.

Scott Davis: still at work last month

The Californian, whose smile would brighten the press tribune at many a dull morning’s session at a world championships or Olympics, was 66, but he had been working right up to last month, when he attended the world junior championships in Canada as the meeting announcer.

Had illness not led to the cancellation of his trip, he would have been in Singapore at this week’s Youth Olympic Games relaying his passion and enthusiasm for the sport to the spectators.

Davis was many faceted: he worked as a baritoned meeting announcer both in the United States and at international championships in Europe and Asia; he edited the American track and field annual, a vital prop for the world’s athletics hacks when covering US athletes; and among his other activities, Davis was also the long-term meeting director of the Mount San Antonio College Relays, the Mount SAC meet, a regular early season appointment for generations of British athletes, from Daley Thompson onwards, when they were training in the southern California sunshine.

Davis had overcome numerous health setbacks during the last decade, but had been very ill since returning from his final announcing assignment in Canada. He elected to spend his final days at home in the company of his wife, Cheryl, and family.

Davis was a long-time colleague of British journalists and statisticians such as Peter Matthews, the former BBC Radio and ITV commentator and editor of the international athletics annual. Davis worked as the secretary general of the Association of Track and Field Statisticans (ATFS) from 1994.

Steeped in the minutiae of the sport essential for an announcer or broadcaster, Davis was best known for his trackside work, widely regarded in America as “the voice of the sport”, providing commentary on meetings for nearly 30 years, beginning at his own college, UCLA. There, he also did commentaries on American football at the Rose Bowl.

“Track and field in the USA has lost its voice,” Ato Boldon, the Olympic sprint medallist who now works as a TV commentator, said.

“No one ever left a Scott Davis conversation not feeling better than they did before it started,” Boldon said.

The Sports Journalists’ Association and the British Athletics Writers’ Association send their deepest condolences to Scott’s family at this sad time.

Read the Chicago Tribune‘s Phil Hersh on the death of Davis and former Olympic hammer champion Hal Connolly by clicking here