Norm Coop elected to Life Membership of Athletics New Zealand
By Murray McKinnon
Athletics in New Zealand is fortunate to have had and continue to have a number of people who have devoted their life to the sport. One of these is Norm Coop of Auckland who was made a Life Member of the Association at the recent Annual General Meeting.
Norm is a real enthusiast as indicated by the fact that he has attended every Olympic Games, apart from 1984, from 1960 to 2004. Norm's involvement spans nearly 70 years, making a significant and outstanding contribution to administration, coaching and officiating nationally and internationally.
He first competed in 1938 for the Ellerslie Club before joining the Onehunga Club in 1943 as a middle distance runner. It was at the Onehunga Club that he made his mark as an administrator and official, moving up through the ranks to President and eventually to be made, in 1962, a Life Member of the Club.
For 34 years Norm was the Club delegate to Auckland Centre meetings which led to being involved in Centre administration. He was Vice-President of Athletics Auckland 1973-78 and President 1978-81. In 1983 he was made a Life Member of Athletics Auckland. Norm was a council member of the then NZAAA from 1979 to 1981 and was President of Athletics New Zealand 1980-81 assisting the Association through the turmoil of the South African Rugby tour.
In 1980 Norm was a delegate at the IAAF congress in Moscow. Also in 1980 he was a co-founder with Joe McManemin of the 1990 Games Promotion Committee which in 1984 was successful in its bid to hold the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland.
Norm has officiated since 1946, acting at numerous New Zealand championships right across the board from track and field and walks to cross country and road. He was a founder member of the Athletics New Zealand technical officials committee in 1974 and drew up the first officials' examination paper. He served on the committee until 1991. He was an International Technical Official and was appointed to the original panel. Norm was an ITO to the world junior championships in Sydney in 1996 and to the IAAF Grand Prix final in Fukuoka Japan in 1997.
Age prevented him carrying out an ITO position at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
Norm has officiated at the 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1990 Commonwealth Games. He was on the jury of appeal at the 1994 Victoria and the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
He was manager of the 1994 Oceania Championships in Auckland and manager of the Australia v. New Zealand test match in Auckland in 2001.
Norm has officiated at Veterans/Masters championships, from the world championships in Christchurch in 1981, at the various Oceania Championships, through to the world non-stadia championships in Auckland in 2003. He was technical manager at the Cook Islands Oceania Championships in 2004.
In 1992 he was accorded an Athletics New Zealand merit award, received a Counties Manukau sports service award in 1999, received an International Olympic Committee Diploma during the International Year of Volunteers in 2001, and in 2005 received a Royal New Zealand Honour, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, MNZM, for services to athletics.