Kevan Gosper

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Richard Kevan Gosper
Kevan Gosper - 1951.jpg
Gosper in 1951
Chief Commissioner of Melbourne
In office
Personal details
Born (1933-12-19) 19 December 1933 (age 84)
Nationality Australian
Olympic medal record
Men's Athletics
Representing  Australia
Silver medal – second place 1956 Melbourne 4x400 metre relay

Richard Kevan Gosper, AO[1] (born 19 December 1933) is an Australian former athlete who mainly competed in the 400 metres. He was formerly a Vice President of the International Olympic Committee, and combined Chairman and CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, Australia.

1956 Summer Olympics[edit]

Gosper competed for Australia in the 1956 Summer Olympics held in Melbourne, Australia, where he won the silver medal in the 4 × 400 metre relay with his teammates Graham Gipson, Leon Gregory and David Lean.

International Olympic Committee[edit]

He was nominated to the International Olympic Committee in 1977; was a vice president of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG). He is chief of the IOC Press Commission, deputy chairman of the IOC Co-ordination Commission for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, chairman of Olympic Games Knowledge Services and president of the Oceania National Olympic Committees. He was inaugural chairman of the Australian Institute of Sport 1980–85, and president of the Australian Olympic Committee 1985–1990 and continues to serve on its executive board.

From 1980 to 1993 Kevan was chairman and chief executive of Shell Australia in Melbourne, and later head of Shell Asia Pacific operations out of London. The other positions he has held include being chief commissioner of the City of Melbourne and chairman of the National Australia Day Council. He is a director of a number of Australian companies, including Crown Casino Limited, Visy Industries and Lion Nathan.

His autobiography, An Olympic Life, was published in March 2000.

Gosper attracted controversy in the run up to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney when his daughter was invited to take part in the Olympic Torch relay. Several days earlier the media published a story which stated that a young Greek-Australian girl, who at the time was traveling through Greece with a school exchange program, would be the first Australian to run with the Olympic flame. Gosper, who at the time was already in Greece overlooking preparations for the Games, was not aware of this article being published.[citation needed] The media criticised Gosper for replacing the young Greek-Australian girl with his daughter, even though the media had no official statements from the Greek National Olympic Committee to support this allegation.[citation needed] The idea of her running with the torch had simply been mentioned by the head of her school exchange program who thought it would be a wonderful opportunity if it could be arranged.[2]

Later he was accused of being an "apologist for dictators" after his criticism of pro-democracy protesters during the Beijing 2008 torch relay.[3] He suggested that during the Olympic Torch Australian appearance Chinese para-military torch attendants could be called into action if Australian police were unable to cope with potential protests. His remarks prompted a swift rebuke from Australian Attorney-General Robert McClelland.[4]


Gosper was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1986, and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1989.[1][5] He received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for services to athletics and the Olympic movement,[6] and has been similarly honoured by France, The Netherlands, Spain, Monaco and Senegal and Solomon Islands.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Gosper, Richard Kevan, AO". It's an Honour. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  2. ^ Wilde, Kevin (10 May 2000). "Sophie Gosper, Olympic torch bearer". The World today. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  3. ^ Bolt, Andrew (9 April 2008). "China torched #5". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  4. ^ Maiden, Samantha; Maley, Paul (16 April 2008). "Gosper rebuked on flame security". The Australian. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Kevan Gosper AO". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  6. ^ "It's an Honour". Australian Government. Archived from the original on 2011-02-16. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
  7. ^ "Sport Australia Hall of Fame - Member Profile: Kevan Gosper". Retrieved 2012-02-26.