Athlete representative Andy Stubbs
Athletes, coaches and other prominent figures in the sport have paid their respects to athlete representative Andy Stubbs, who died in his sleep on Sunday (6).
Born and raised in the UK, Stubbs spent most of his professional career in Australia and the US. Before embarking on a career in track and field, Stubbs worked as a TV sports reporter in Australia.
In late 2000, he became an athlete representative and went on to manage some of the biggest stars in the sport. The athletes he managed, many of whom were field eventers, were predominantly from the US and Oceania and they included the likes of world and Olympic gold medallist Valerie Adams, Olympic long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta and two-time world indoor shot put champion Tom Walsh.
“The world has lost an infectious smile, a barrel of laughter and a caring soul,” said 2012 world indoor long jump silver medallist Henry Frayne. “Andy Stubbs was a wonderful man. He had a jovial laugh, a great sense of humour and was thoughtful beyond belief. Time and time again when the going was tough, he would be the voice of reason and of positivity. And when those rare moments of success in our sport were occurring, he was always there to congratulate and celebrate. You won’t find a more genuine or caring man anywhere.”
Fellow athlete representative David Scott also paid tribute to Stubbs. “Andy was a proud Aussie who, at the same time, loved being from Stoke-on-Trent, loved his athletics and served his athletes well. Another hole on the athletics circuit that can’t be filled.”
TV commentators Tim Hutchings and Paul Swangard shared their thoughts on social media. “Andy was a genuinely lovely fella, a gentle giant and always smiling,” said Hutchings. “He was the sort of guy you looked forward to bumping into and within seconds you’d be laughing and sharing a rapid catch-up.”
“He cared so much for the sport and all athletes, whether he represented them or not,” added Swangard.
Australian middle-distance coach Justin Rinaldi echoed those sentiments. “A lot of people don’t see the work these agents put in behind the scenes and the personal sacrifices they make to look after their athletes,” he said. “This will be a great loss to the sport.”
In a heartfelt blog post, Bartoletta described Stubbs as one of her best friends within the sport.
“Long before he was my manager, he was a friend,” wrote the two-time world long jump champion. “A smiling face every single time I ran across him in a hotel lobby. Every time I saw him, he made me feel like I was important, worth more than my last performance, or commission.
“He was exactly who I needed when I needed him and now he is gone,” she added. “And I’m so glad I had enough sense to tell you how important you were to me while you were here. I don’t want to do this without you, Andy. But because of you, I can. Because of you, I will.”