1928 – 2014
Dave Power was one of Australia's great distance runners. Born in Maitland in NSW, Power developed into a good mile runner in the early 1950s and by 1960 he was the sixth fastest Australian miler of all time, running 4 minutes 00.2 seconds.
In 1956, Power finished third in both the 3 mile and 6 mile events at the Australian Championships in Melbourne and gained Olympic selection for the 10,000 metres.
At the 1956 Melbourne Games, the 10,000m was on the first day of the track and field competition and was highlighted by the front running tactics of the Soviet runner Vladimir Kuts. A Ukrainian running for the USSR, Kuts ran his opposition into the ground to win the first of his two gold medals. However behind him the internationally inexperienced Dave ran a determined and sensible race to finish seventh in 29.49.6.
Two years later, Power stamped his name on the international athletics scene by winning the 6 miles and marathon at the Empire and Commonwealth Games at Cardiff 1958.
In 1960, Power won the 3 and 6 mile events at the Nationals. He was selected in his second Olympic Team and had to face the heat of Rome and the best distance runners in the world.
In the 10,000m he came up against a strong trio of Soviet athletes, Yevgeniy Zhukov, Piotr Bolotnikov and Aleksey Desyatchikov and an East German Hans Grodotzki. Zhukov set the early pace but with seven laps to go Dave tried to pull away but Bolotnikov, Grodotzki and Desyatchikov were able to stay with him. With a little under two laps to go, Bolotnikov surged ahead to win the race but Dave held on for a gallant third behind Grodotzki. His time was 28.37.64 – a personal best. A few days later he won his heat of the 5,000m in 14.03.17 and then finished fifth in 13.52.37 in the final won by New Zealand's Murray Halberg.
At the Empire and Commonwealth Games at Perth 1962, Power finished second in both the 6 miles and marathon. His marathon medals in Cardiff and Perth were the first by an Australian in an international running of the event.
Dave spent the final years of his life in Queensland, passing away peacefully in February 2014.