BALLARAT'S sporting community is coming to terms with the loss of one of the city's 'original Olympians'.
High jumper, passionate sportsman and mentor and prominent architect John Vernon died late last week. He was 89 years old.
Vernon, with boxer Bobby Bath, were the first Ballarat athletes to represent Australia in the Olympics, each competing in the 1956 Melbourne Games.
Passionate about the Olympic movement, Vernon was heavily involved in the redevelopment of the Olympic Rings site at Lake Wendouree for the 50th anniversary of the Melbourne Games for which Ballarat hosted rowing events.
The Rings features the name of every Ballarat athlete to compete in an Olympic Games and, as of earlier this year, also the city's Paralympians.
Vernon is widely regarded as a true gentleman of sport, always keen to learn more about the region's emerging athletes and those competing on the biggest stages.
He was a founding member, past president and life member of Ballarat Sportsman's Club.
Vernon jumped 1.82 metres in the qualifying rounds of the Melbourne Olympics.
He also represented Australia in high jump for the 1950 and 1954 British Empire Games, now known as the Commonwealth Games.
Vernon made a personal best jump of 2.019m in 1954.
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