Obituary: Dick Quax, Olympic medallist and Auckland politician, dies aged 70

One of New Zealand's most prominent Olympians, Dick Quax, has died today aged 70 after a battle with cancer.

The middle-distance runner won Silver medals at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, and set a world record in the 5000 metres in 1977.

Born in the Netherlands and christened Theodorus Jacobus Leonardus, Quax's family immigrated to the Waikato in the 1950s.

It was in 1970 when the 22-year-old Quax burst into the limelight, with a silver medal behind Kenyan Kip Keino in the 1500 metres.

Quax went on to come second in the 5000 metres at the 1976 Olympics, two places ahead of his compatriot Rod Dixon.

After setting a world record of 13 minutes 12.9 seconds over 5000m in Stockholm in 1977, Quax said "I'm sure I could run a lot faster".

After his running days were over, a stint in sports management led to a career in local body politics.

Quax was elected to the Manukau City Council in 2001 and the new Auckland Super City Council in 2010 - successfully re-elected in 2013 and 2016.

His achievements on the rack led to more recognition in 2005.

Along with his world champion cross-country teammates from 30 years before, Quax was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.

In 2013, Quax contracted throat cancer. After treatment, he thought he had seen the end of it, but the illness returned, and he succumbed to it on May 28, 2018.

Theo, the 17-year-old son of the legendary Dick Quax, is making a name for himself on the track. Source: 1 NEWS

Quax is survived by his wife Roxanne and three children. 

New Zealand long distance runner Dick Quax competing at the Pan Am Games. Source: Supplied