Olympic athlete, cricketer and businessman; Born December 5, 1925; Died February 27, 2009.

Alastair McCorquodale, who has died aged 83, was the Scots athlete denied a bronze medal in the 100m sprint final at the 1948 London Olympics in one of the earliest uses of photo-finish technology.

The freeze-frame devices at Wembley that had previously only been employed at racecourses showed photographic evidence that pushed McCorquodale into fourth place behind three Americans - this after recording 10.4 in an apparent dead heat with two other runners.

The surprise at the post-war Olympics was that judges relied on hand timing accurate to 1/10th of a second, when at the 1932 Los Angeles and 1936 Berlin Olympics, automatic timing had been standard.

An acclaimed sportsman, McCorquodale also lost out on gold in the 4x100 metres relay, in spite of his part in a time of 41.3 seconds.

McCorquodale, born in Hillhead, came from a well-to-do Glasgow family with business interests that included the printers McCorquodale & Co. Raised in Essex, he was educated at Harrow, excelling in sport, playing for the1st XI as a fast bowler, and twice representing the school in the annual match against Eton at Lords.

Commissioned into the Coldstream Guards at the end of the war, he was posted to Germany, where he turned to athletics as a means of avoiding too much drill. He excelled again, taking the Army 100m and 200m titles in the 1947 Army championships, winning at the meeting of the Amateur Athletics Association the same year, and competing for Scotland.

Denied a double medal at the Olympics, he never ran again, reverting to cricket that same year. His performance in the MCC tour of Canada of 1948 earned him a place in Wisden as a bowler with his bowling average of 99.75 for his four wickets.

Thereafter he concentrated on club cricket, representing Free Foresters, Marylebone Cricket Club in 1948 and Middlesex in three matches in 1951, unusually as a left-handed batsman and a right-arm fast bowler.

Until his death he was the ninth oldest living Middlesex first-class cricketer.

When sport took a back seat, he joined the family print firm, becoming chairman in 1967 until retirement 19 years later. His business acumen was put to good use on the boards of British Sugar and Guardian Royal Exchange and he returned to Harrow as a school governor, as well as running the family estate at Stoke Rochford, near Grantham in Lincolnshire.

A tall, engaging man with a ready smile, McCorquodale proved throughout his life exceptionally modest about his sporting prowess, rarely speaking about it and hardly ever mentioning the Olympics.

His own marriage as well as those of his children were well-connected. He married Rosemary Turnor, whose mother, Lady Enid Fane, was a daughter of the 13th Earl of Westmorland.

His son Neil married Lady Sarah Spencer, sister of Diana, Princess of Wales; while his daughter Sally (who predeceased him last year) married Geoffrey van Cutsem. These connections produced the story that the royal family affectionately referred to McCorquodale and his wife as "Mr and Mrs McCrocodile".

McCorquodale is survived by his wife Rosemary, son Neil, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. GORDON CASELY