Peter Whiteside
Personal information
Born(1952-06-23)23 June 1952
Marton, Middlesbrough, England
Died14 April 2020(2020-04-14) (aged 67)
Peterborough, England
SportModern pentathlon

Peter Whiteside (23 June 1952 – 14 April 2020) was a British modern pentathlete.[1] He competed at the 1980 Summer Olympics,[2] and he was the British Modern Pentathlon champion in 1985.[3] He died from complications due to COVID-19.[4]


Whiteside was born in Marton, Middlesbrough, England in 1952.[1] He excelled in swimming when he was young, winning multiple races in the north east of England.[1] In 1969, he joined the Royal Air Force as a mechanic, taking up pentathlon four years later.[1] In 1977, he moved over to the British Army working for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.[5] Here he worked with Jim Fox, who had won the gold medal as part of the Great Britain team at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.[6] Later in 1977, Whiteside finished in second place in the British Modern Pentathlon Championship, just behind Olympian Danny Nightingale.[1] Whiteside again finished in second place in 1983,[1] before winning the British title in 1985.[7]

Whiteside competed in the modern pentathlete at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.[1] In the individual event, he finished in 21st place,[8] and finished in eighth place in the team event.[9]

In 1983, Whiteside was involved in a fencing accident that resulted in the death of his opponent, John Warburn.[10] The pair were training in a practice session when part of Whiteside's blade entered Warburn's neck.[10] The coroner recorded the death with the verdict of misadventure, with the death being the first in the history of British fencing.[10]

Following his career in the army, Whiteside went on to become a coach at the Reading Fencing Club.[1][7] He later became the Director of Fencing at several international pentathlon tournaments.[5] In 2007, Whiteside moved to Cyprus,[5][3] running a business in the sports nutrition sector.[1] However, the following year, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.[1] Despite having a successful operation, another tumour appeared in 2016.[1] This left him suffering from brain damage and he was wheelchair bound.[1] He returned to England in 2018 for further care, but died of COVID-19 in April 2020.[5] He was remembered in the In Memoriam section of the 2020 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award ceremony.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Peter Whiteside". Olympedia. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  2. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Peter Whiteside Olympic Results". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Peter Whiteside". Pentathlon GB. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  4. ^ "Teesside athlete who represented Great Britain in the Olympics dies after contracting coronavirus". Gazette Live. 20 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d "Tribute: Peter Whiteside (1952-2020)". UIPM World Pentathlon. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  6. ^ "Jim Fox". Olympedia. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  7. ^ a b "Tribute: Army Pentathlete Peter Whiteside (1952-2020) (REME)". Army Sport Control Board. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Individual, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Team, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  10. ^ a b c "Olympic athlete Peter Whiteside told a coroner Tuesday". UPI News. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  11. ^ "Sports Personality of the Year 2020: Remembering the stars we have lost". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 February 2022.