Mr Kevan Gosper AC was the chairman of Shell Australia, the Australian Sports Commission and Vice President of the Australian Olympic Committee. Through my industrial chaplaincy ministry at Shell Australia, we established an ongoing link.
With my subsequent appointment as the Australian cricket chaplain in 1984 and the concurrent establishment of chaplaincies in professional sports, I was in a good position to discuss with Kevan Gosper an appropriate chaplaincy role for the Los Angeles Olympics.
I was thus able to combine four quite separate activities with this Los Angeles sojourn. These were:
- to be part of the Los Angeles Olympics Religious Services;
- to write about the Olympic field hockey The Australian newspaper;
- to undertake my first study tour of USA sports ministries, and
- to kick off a US postgraduate doctoral dissertation program with the US Baptist University network thru our NSW Morling College.
Upon my return I began to ponder how to implement the knowledge I had gained from USA sports ministries into an Australian context. One of the outcomes was to initiate discussions with Kevan Gosper about ways to initiate a chaplaincy at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
The Reverend Ken Bond was the first chaplain appointed, and he was followed by the Reverend Peter Nelson who celebrated 31 years at the AIS. Both these ministers have also had ongoing commitments with the Olympics; Ken Bond, Barcelona (1992); Peter Nelson, Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000) …...
After the Atlanta Olympics, I spoke to Kevan Gosper regarding developing a protocol for host city Olympic Games' Villages Religious Services'. As a result, I was invited to the IOC in Lausanne Switzerland in February 2000 to assist IOC staff in the development of a 'Protocol of ideas' for IOC Religious Services – a transfer of knowledge.
Since that time, I have sent a 'Transfer of Knowledge' to each subsequent summer and winter Olympic host city for their consideration. On Monday 9 February 2009 my wife Delma and I were in Vancouver discussing 'Religious Services' with the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Committee.
Reverend Peter Nelson the AIS chaplain has also been tremendously helpful with the young athletes visiting 'Timeout in Moruya', Basil Sellers House, in Moruya for athlete respite, a facility for this purpose, which was opened in 1992. Peter Nelson's interview on the Australian Missionary News IPTV can be viewed here.
The athlete respite ministry was an idea I picked up at that 1982 Hong Kong conference where I met Gernot Kunzelman, an Austrian sports star who had established a respite lodge in the Austrian Alps at Tauernhof.
The miracle of the AIS ministry has been the welcome by its personnel and the integrity of the chaplains: Reverend Ken Bond who initiated it, and Reverend Peter Nelson who was the chaplain for so many years and his associate Peter Prior who was involved in the AIS ministry for fourteen years Now there is a new chaplain Rev Ricky Dio and the process continues.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html