It is with great sadness that we have learned that John Lear, a hugely influential figure in the history of British Weight Lifting and one of the great characters of UK sport for over five decades, has passed away last week in his home town of Shrewsbury.
John Lear was born in August 1935, he grew up in Shrewsbury, England where he attended the elite Shrewsbury School. He developed an enduring love of the town and the school and it was here that he was introduced to rowing and his great passion, weightlifting. The pattern of his life had been set.
Upon leaving school, John went to the University of Wales in Cardiff, where he met Myrddin John, who was to become General Secretary of the Welsh Weightlifting Federation and a Vice President of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). The two would become lifelong friends. Upon graduating, John became a P.E. teacher in North London and continued his career as a weightlifter and developed an interest in coaching. His talents were quickly identified, and John was invited to coach the national teams in South Korea, Iran and China. Later the IWF would invite John to tutor a number of Olympic Solidarity Courses around the world.
John worked closely with Al Murray and Louis Martin, the World Champion at 90kg. In 1972 John succeeded Al as the British National Coach and then Director of Coaching and the pair wrote many books together on all aspects of weightlifting.
Over more than half a century, John played a key role in the development and success of weightlifting both nationally and on an international level. He represented Great Britain as National Coach at nine Olympic Games, nine Commonwealth Games and numerous World and European Championships, as well as tournaments of every hue. He also sat on the British Olympic Committee and worked with numerous British sporting bodies, including British Rowing, to devise and implement weight training programs. His contribution to weightlifting and British sport in general is unprecedented and will likely never be replicated.
British Weight Lifting also paid their tribute to John Lear:
“John will be remembered for his loyalty, friendship and great humility as well as his willingness to always share his experience with others, often imparted by his wicked sense of humour.”
“He was hugely admired and respected by all who were fortunate to meet him, not just in the UK but all around the World.”
“British sport has lost a true stalwart, someone who enriched so many people’s lives and sadly his contribution will never be fully recognised or acknowledged. Our deepest condolences go to his wife Teresa, daughter Katie and two sons.”
John will be remembered as an inspirational coach, friend and a true ambassador for weightlifting and he will be sadly missed.
IWF offers its condolences to British Weight Lifting and John Lear’s family.