’We have lost a great man’: Sporting community in mourning
Olympic cyclist Cliff Burvill has been remembered as an extremely talented track and road cyclist who won many championships and major honours.
Burvill, 83, died on Thursday, January 14 following a fall on the criterium circuit at Byron Bay.
In a moving post, St George Cycling Club life president, Phill Bates, shared the story of a man who was highly respected and never lost his enthusiasm for all things cycling.
In the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, Burvill contested the 4000m team pursuit while partnered by his St George Cycling Club teammates Frank Brazier, Warren Scarfe and Roy Moore, under the aegis of St George's Joe Buckley, who was also Australia's national coach.
Burvill, the youngest on the team, helped them make history as this was the first and only time that a club team represented their country at an Olympics.
His ride to victory started early, at age 14, and by 18 he held the Australian team pursuit title which saw him speed into the Olympic team.
Former national junior champion Ian Chapman recalled how Burvill encouraged him to improve his riding and acknowledged his support to becoming an Olympic cyclist himself.
"Cliff was an incredible athlete and talked me into travelling to Sydney to improve my cycling," Chapman said.
"I joined St George, lived with Cliff at his parents' residence in Narwee, and fulfilled a lifetime dream to become an Olympic cyclist in 1960."
In 1958, Burvill recorded the fastest time in the Goulburn to Liverpool Cycle Classic, starting from scratch.
He won many open events before moving away from Sydney.
Burvill settled on the North Coast with his wife Jan, raising a family but never losing interest in sport and his club.
Not content with cycling, Burvill became a member of Byron Bay Surf Club as a paddler, and in 1988 won two silver medals in the Australian Marathon Canoe Championships.
He still competed prominently in marathon canoe championships throughout the 1990s.
Graham Seers, CEO of Cycling NSW and close friend of Burvill said: "We have lost a great man; a champion in every way and a very special mate."