Vale Forbes Carlile MBE

2 August 2016

The Australian Olympic Committee has expressed deep sadness at the passing today of Australia’s first Olympic modern pentathlete (1952) and youngest Olympic coach (1948) Forbes Carlile MBE, aged 95.

Born in Armadale, Victoria, Australia’s oldest Olympian was the only Australian to have represented at an Olympic Games first as a coach and then as an athlete.

He again coached the Australian Swimming Team at the 1956 Olympic Games and in 1960 was the team’s scientific advisor.

In 1980 he was selected as Head Coach of the Australian Swimming Team but withdrew (due to the Russian invasion of Afghanisatan).

Forbes was acknowledged for his pioneering work on elite athlete training methods and, together with his wife Ursula, and their assistant Tom Green, he produced many notable Olympians including Shane Gould, Karen Moras, Gail Neall, John Davies, Terry Gathercole, John Ryan and Ian O'Brien.

Throughout his coaching career, Carlile coached 52 members of the Australian Olympic, World Championship and Commonwealth Games teams, capturing 12 Olympic medals, including five individual gold medals and 31 individual world records.

Forbes established Australia’s first commercial swimming school, which catered for all levels; and eventually began a university program that allowed athletes to study the swim program.

AOC Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller, a former Olympic modern pentathlete, expressed her condolences on behalf of the Australian Olympic team.

“The passing of Forbes Carlile is incredibly sad and our thoughts are with his wife Ursula,” she said.

“He was a true legend in Australian Olympic history as both an athlete and a coach.

“He was Australia’s first-ever Olympian in modern pentathlon and it was a true honour to know him.

“Just four weeks ago at the annual Kaplya Club (Helsinki Olympic reunion) he was asking me about the pentathlon event in Rio and he retained a keen interest and knowledge in the sport and the Olympics.

“Forbes will be very sadly missed by many.”

Carlile passed away after three weeks in Concord Hospital and is survived by wife and Olympic coach Ursula.  He has left an enormous legacy on the world of swimming and will be remembered by former and current swimmers and coaches from all around the world today and especially when the Olympic swimming competition starts in Rio on August 6. 


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Forbes Carlile