Tribute: Peter Whiteside (1952-2020)
Peter Whiteside, who competed in Modern Pentathlon for Great Britain at the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games, has died aged 67.
Peter’s career spanned the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and he became British champion in 1985 and won numerous national team titles. Originally in the Royal Air Force, he transferred to the Army and served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), training for many years at Arborfield Garrison.
Dominic Mahony OLY, the Vice President of Pentathlon GB who competed against and alongside Peter, wrote: “Peter set the standard for hard work and commitment and was a vital example to those young athletes who had the opportunity to train with him.”
After retiring from the Army, Peter became a fencing coach who played a big role in developing the next generation of athletes. He coached at Reading Fencing Club and acted as Director of Fencing at numerous Modern Pentathlon competitions including the 2001 UIPM Pentathlon World Championships and several UIPM Pentathlon World Cups.
In 2008, living in Cyprus with his wife Linda, Peter was diagnosed with the first of two brain tumours. After his second operation in 2016, he struggled to recover and funds were raised by his friends and family to bring Peter and Linda back to Great Britain and into a care facility in 2018. Earlier this year, Peter was diagnosed with COVID-19 and he was sadly unable to fight off the virus.
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “Peter was a fine athlete who worked hard to get the best out of himself and achieved some excellent results, of which he could be very proud.
“We are grateful for his contribution to our sport as a competitor at the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980, as a role model for other athletes and later as a fencing coach at numerous Modern Pentathlon competitions.”
Janusz Peciak, Montreal 1976 Olympic champion and UIPM Executive Board Member for Sport, added: “I competed with Peter in Moscow 1980 and at the World Championships in Budapest in 1979. He was always a very happy and funny guy. God pray for him.”