Sir Ron Scott, organiser of 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games, dies

Sir Ronald Scott, the chair of the organising committee for the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games has died.
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Sir Ronald Scott, the chair of the organising committee for the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games has died.

Sir Ron Scott's leadership skills were instrumental in making sure the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games ran like a "well oiled machine".

Scott, who was chairman of the organising committee for the Games, died in Upper Hutt on August 7, aged 88.

He was pivotal in helping Christchurch, with a population of just 250,000 at the time, secure hosting rights and ensured the Games ran smoothly and generated a profit.

Scott was knighted for services to sport for his work on the Christchurch Games organising committee.

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* Why Scott's Games were a runaway success

He also served as chairman of the Hillary Commission, the forerunner of today's Sport New Zealand. 

Sports administrator Bruce Ullrich, who was vice-chairman of the Christchurch organising committee, said Scott was integral in the success of the Games.

"Ron showed dynamic leadership.

"The Games went like a well-oiled machine. It was through the efforts of Ron and others, they all played a part."

Scott's advertising background and media presence were vital, Ullrich said.

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"In terms of the role he played in the '74 Games, you'd have to say it was quite outstanding.

"He did an excellent job at the time."

Weightlifter Tony Ebert, who won gold in the middleweight at the 1974 Games, described Scott as an "entrepreneur".

"He had incredible leadership skills. He was a very powerful speaker and had a very pleasant personality.

"He held together a lot of the committees. I never heard a bad word ever spoken about him."

Champion runner Dick Tayler recalled talking to Scott after winning the 1973 national cross country title in Christchurch.

Scott told Tayler he hoped "someone like you can kick-start the Games next year" and Tayler certainly did, capturing 10,000m gold on the opening day of the Games.

"He was part of a very successful organising committee," Tayler said.

"They were all very astute people."

Christchurch trounced Melbourne, the successful host of the 1956 Olympic Games, in a one-sided vote 36-2 for the Games.

It was a proud moment for Scott, after losing to Edinburgh in a close battle for the 1970 event.

In a 2014 interview with The Press, Scott reflected on America's influential Sports Illustrated magazine hailing the five days of track and field in Christchurch as "quite possibly the best five days in the history of athletics".

Scott paid credit to the 2000 volunteers at the 1974 Games, who put the city on the global sporting map.

He believed the '74 Games were the last to produce an operating surplus.

Scott, who spent most of his life in Christchurch, moved to Wellington in 1991 and served on the Wellington Stadium trust.

He had a strong passion for the arts, running a fine arts business and gallery in Christchurch and was a founding member of the Arts Foundation.

Scott is survived by his wife Beverley and their two sons and daughter.

 

 - Stuff

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