WA track and field great Phil May dies, aged 70

Bridget Lacy
Brad Hardie, Phil May and Graham Marsh in 1998. Pic: WA News

WA lost one of its finest athletes with the death of 1968 Olympian Phil May on Sunday night.

May, 70, died surrounded by family at Bethesda Hospital after being diagnosed with leukaemia five weeks ago.

He had three daughters and one grandson.

May, who won a gold medal in the triple jump and silver in the long jump at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, is acknowledged as one of the country's greatest triple and long jumpers.

The WA Institute of Sport Hall of Champions inductee won six national titles in the triple jump and was a four-times long jump Australian champion between 1966 and 1973.

May's triple jump personal best of 17.02m - a national record at the time - was recorded in his sixth placing at the Mexico Olympics and remains fifth on the Australian all-time list.

May also dominated the Pacific Conference Games in Tokyo in 1969 with gold medals in the long jump, triple jump and 4x100m relay.

May sustained a serious foot injury in the US in 1971 which hampered his career.

His final international meeting was at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.

May continued to be involved in the sport after his retirement, as a national selector from 1977 to 1983, including as chairman of the panel for four years.

He is also remembered for his work mentoring younger athletes as well as being the co-founder of Dome Coffees Australia.

May teamed with Patria Jafferies to open the first Dome coffee house in Cottesloe in 1991.

The pair sold it to a team of Dome executives backed by private equity in December 2003.