Dame Mary Alison Glen-Haig

Week 61 (15 - 21 November 2014)

Honorary IOC member Dame Mary Alison Glen-Haig, who died last week at the age of 96, has been hailed by the sports world as a pioneer. It's a compliment she merits completely.

Throughout Glen-Haig's life and career she repeatedly got involved in projects which she helped grow from chrysalis phase to fully-fledged establishment. The trend emerges even with only a whistle-stop tour of her life's achievements: she was among the first three women to become an IOC member, supervising the first edition of the Women's Islamic Games in 1993, and gave a decade of service on the IOC Medical Commission. As an athlete she shunned the sporting path her mother had followed in tennis to take up fencing – the sport of her father's choice – going on to compete in four Olympic Games and winning gold medals at the British Empire Games, and British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

She also took on the Presidency of the British Sports Association for the Disabled for 10 years as well as working for the British Olympic Association and the International Fencing Federation - if there's such a thing as an Olympic full house, Dame Mary Alison Glen-Haig had it.

Her passing was recognised across all spheres of the British media this week whilst IOC President Thomas Bach, an Olympic fencer himself, underlined how her life spoke to him and the wider Olympic Movement: "Dame Mary Alison Glen-Haig lived a life full of passion for sport and was a pioneer in many respects.

"Her skills on the sports field, as well as in the medical field, combined with her warm personality, made her unique. She was a true inspiration."

Photo: Wikimedia