Man who guided Mary Rand to the 1964 Olympic long jump title will be remembered for his laid-back yet hugely effective approach to coaching

John Le Masurier, the coach who guided Mary Rand to the 1964 Olympic long jump title, has died aged 97.

Known for his mild, laid-back approach to coaching, Guernsey-born Le Masurier was hugely respected and his versatility saw him help athletes – from sprinters and cross country runners to throwers and jumpers – to reach their potential with his quiet authority, gentle persuasion and wide-ranging knowledge.

He took up athletics in 1935 and, after receiving a First Class Honours Diploma from Loughborough Colleges, began coaching in 1939.  Le Masurier was appointed AAA National Coach for the South of England in 1949 before taking on the role of joint AAA principle national coach from 1961 to 1978.

Le Mas, as he was sometimes affectionately known, was best known for his coaching of three-time Olympic medallist Rand who he linked up with in 1958, though he also guided the likes of sprinter Dave Segal, 800m man Chris Carter and Diane Leather, who had earlier become the first woman to break five minutes for the mile.

He was coach of the Great Britain team at the five Olympic Games between 1960 and 1976, Rand having leapt a world record of 6.76m in Tokyo in 1964 when she also finished as runner up in the pentathlon and formed part of the bronze medal-winning 4x100m relay team.

Recognising the contribution Le Masurier made to the sport, he was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. In the video below he receives his award from Carter, the then AAA chairman.

» With thanks to Mel Watman for information