A self-confessed ‘great Olympic nurd’, McIntyre said he was ‘very glad and indeed privileged’ to have known Tommy, a Flames: Lighting the Way ambassador and honorary College graduate who died on Saturday aged 91, after first meeting up at Wembley.
“Chris McGeorge, our Elite athlete welfare officer, had taken some students down to link up our 1948 Olympic torch with the one which lit the cauldron and the cauldron itself,” McIntyre recalls. “This dapper man walked in who looked like a ‘man from the Pru’ with his briefcase full of his 1948 medals, all his travel passes from 1948 etc and many fabulous letters.”
McIntyre then discovered more about the calibre of the man, who won two bronze medals at cycling at the London 1948 Olympics and managed the British team in 1964, when he next saw him at a Flames Festival back at Loughborough College.
“He entranced the young children with his stories and his 1948 bike,” he said. “He would not walk with the 1948 torch but insisted on running with it to start the relay for the children. At lunch, he put in my hand an original 1964 Olympic postcard and said: ‘That’s for you, I could see at once you were a real enthusiast’”
Summing up a true gentleman who made many friends at Loughborough College, McIntyre added: “I think Tommy had three lives – he was cyclist first, then he was a family man and lastly he was a ‘personality’, beginning in his 80s when most people are past it.
“He never said, as he easily could, ‘compared to my day they have it easy in sport today’ – he took everything and everyone as he found them. His was a life well lived and it was so great he lived to see London 2012 and be a major part of it. It can be truly be said that we will not see his like again.”Tags: London 2012, Loughborough College, Tommy Godwin