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A consummate professional who loved sport

Philip Guishard will be greatly missed in track and field circles, with his death on Monday at the age of 74 coming as a huge blow to the Bermuda Olympic Association.

Prior to serving as the BOA's general secretary, Guishard worked at the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Recreation as, first, a coordinator in the after-school programme and then as a sports advisor from 1994 to 2005 when he retired.

Brenton Roberts, a former director of the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation, described Guishard as “the consummate professional administrator”.

Guishard was also a former teacher at St George's Secondary School.

“I was very shocked to hear of his passing yesterday morning,” Roberts said. “I had to gather myself to accept that and also to reflect on our past. I knew he had been unwell for a while.

“He first came to the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation as a coordinator with the after-school programme as we progressed it into some 13 schools around the island.

“I came to know him as an excellent administrator with a passion for sport, particularly track and field, and he became the president of the Bermuda Track and Field Association during that time.”

Guishard became the sports advisor in 1994 when Brenda Dale left the department, Roberts recalled.

“He was one of the applicants for her position and we were very pleased to accept his application,” Roberts said.

Guishard was also the recording secretary for the sports awards committee during its annual deliberations.

Judy Simons, the Bermuda Olympic Association president, was one of the members of that committee.

“He became sports advisor and served up until 2005 when he retired and joined the Bermuda Olympic Association as its secretary general,” Roberts said.

“While at Youth and Sport we had a significant partnership in developing a lot of the programmes you see today, such as the international junior athletic programme where we give financial aid to junior athletes.

“He was involved in the drug-free sport initiative when we introduced that to Bermuda and also became the ex-officio officer of the drug-free sport organisation up until the time he passed.

“He brought vast experience to the table and we enjoyed a wonderful partnership over the years as we developed the ministry in various activities and programmes.

“One of the highlights was the tennis stadium which we renovated and instituted a new management structure under Phil's leadership.”

Roberts added: “He was the consummate professional administrator and we had a difference of opinion it was always settled in an amicable and gentlemanly way. I appreciated his analytical skills.

“Even after he retired from the department and went to the Bermuda Olympic Association I would go and visit him and we would sit down and talk about sports.”

Guishard worked for the past eight years as secretary general of the BOA, overseeing the day-to-day functioning of the Association and liaising with the International Olympic Committee, Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation, Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees, Association of National Olympic committees, Pan America Sports Organisation and Commonwealth Games Federation.

In 2012 Guishard was elected to the Commonwealth Games Federation Sports Committee as the representative for the Americas region.

Prior to becoming secretary general in 2008, Guishard served as a member of the BOA for 12 years.

During his involvement with the BOA, he also served as chef de mission for Bermuda's teams at several Olympic and Commonwealth Games, and was the BOA's representative on the Bermuda Sport Anti-Doping Authority.

“Philip's knowledge of the Olympic movement was amazing,” Simons said.

“He had a passion for the Games and believed strongly in the benefits that sporting involvement could bring to young people's lives and to our community.

“As an athlete himself, Philip had admiration and empathy for our country's young athletes, and was an enthusiastic fan and a voice of support for all of them.

“As a longstanding member of the BOA, he was well-known, respected and considered a friend by many of his peers within National Olympic Committees around the world.

“On behalf of the Board, staff and volunteers at the BOA, I'd like to express our deepest sympathies to Philip's family and friends. He was a man of integrity and a consummate professional, and we will miss him dearly.”

Long jumper Tyrone Smith, who competed at this month's Rio Olympics, paid tribute to Guishard on his Facebook page yesterday.

“So today I've learned that we have lost a true icon and champion of sport in Bermuda,” Smith wrote.

“I remember Mr. Guishard saying ‘I'll be watching you young man, you have a great future ahead of you' and it inspired such a pride whenever I put on my Bermuda uniform. He was always there supporting and cheering.

“Track and Field was, dare I say, his favourite sport and he came to every round! You will be missed dearly. Rest well!”

Man of integrity: Guishard, right, hands over the Queen's Baton to Simons, the BOA president, as part of the globe-spanning relay leading up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

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Published August 31, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 31, 2016 at 12:12 am)

A consummate professional who loved sport

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