Michael ("Mike") George Raymond Agostini (born January 23, 1935 in Port-of-Spain) is a former track and field athlete from Trinidad and Tobago, who won the 100 yards final at the British Empire Games in Vancouver, Canada, on July 31, 1954. With that performance he became T&T's first ever athletics gold medallist at the quadrennial multi-sports festival, today known as the Commonwealth Games. In the final he defeated Canadian Don McFarlane and Hector Hogan from Australia.
A graduate in Economics (California State University, Fresno, 1958), he later became an author, but is mostly remembered as being the first person from Trinidad and Tobago to study on an athletics scholarship in the US. He was also T&T's first formal Olympic double sprint finalist in Melbourne at the 1956 Summer Olympics, where he placed sixth in the 100 and fourth in the 200 metres event, representing the British West Indies. He is still T&T's most prolific Pan American Games medallist with five medals in two Games, in Mexico City (1955) and Chicago (1959).
Agostini first stormed on to the world athletics scene in late 1952, when he beat the Jamaican star Herb McKenley in Kingston, just months after Herb had returned from the 1952 Summer Olympics with one gold and two silver medals. As a result Agostini received scholarship offers from several US universities.
In April he went back to Kingston where he ran 100y in 9.4 (a world junior record) leaving in his wake no less an athlete than the Olympic 200 m champion Andy Stanfield from the USA. And in June he ran 8th (9.7) in the final of the AAU (US National) Championships at Dayton. Taking up his scholarship at Villanova University in the autumn, Agostini began training under coach Jumbo Elliott, and continued to interface with the top American sprinters.
In the first month of 1954 he tied the world indoor 100y record (9.6) in Washington, DC. Then at the AAU Championships in June, held in St Louis that year, he reached the finals of both sprint events, finishing 4th in the 100y (9.7) and 6th in the 220y (21.6).
Agostini continued in top class athletics for another six years, running in Olympic finals, winning Pan American Games medals and representing two other countries. His colourful personality made for some interesting controversies. He had migrated to Australia before his retirement from competitive athletics.
West Indian-born, American educated, Australian resident and citizen, Mike Agostini is a man of many parts who now styles himself as a Tusitala, the Polynesian term for storyteller, which is what he now does with these books, as he explains in the preface of his second "death" book, DB2, titled The Dying Experience and Learning How to Live.
A graduate in Economics (University of California at Fresno, 1958), the author's early life was spent studying as well as running (being the first person from Trinidad and Tobago to do so on an athletics scholarship in the US) and travelling the world, competing. Mike won T&T's first-ever Empire and Commonwealth Games athletics gold medal in Vancouver, Canada, in 1954. He was also T&T's first formal Olympic double sprint finalist in Melbourne in 1956, where he placed sixth in the 100 and fourth in the 200 metres event. He is still T&T's most prolific Pan-American Games medallist with five medals in two Games, in Mexico City (1955) and Chicago (1959).
Mike also became T&T's first world record-breaker, running 100 yards indoors (in flat-soled shoes) in 9.6 seconds in Washington DC in 1954, as well as equalling world bests for 50 and 60 yards that same indoor season. In 1956 he broke the world records for 220 yards/200 metres running 20.1 seconds in Bakersfield, California, and later that year equalled the world record for 100 yards (9.3sec) at Long Beach, California. He was called the World's Fastest Human in both those years, 1954 and 1956. Mike was also awarded the Helm's World Trophy for South America (the equivalent of today's Laureus Awards) in 1956.
After ending his running career in 1960 at the age of 25, Mike became a schoolteacher as well as working part-time in media, both as a journalist and a writer of books mainly about sport and fitness. He also worked in television, initially in Melbourne, covering the 1962 Perth Commonwealth Games for all media. Moving to Sydney in 1963, he worked full-time for the late Sir Frank Packer who appointed him Sports Director of his Sydney station TCN-9 in 1964, where he remained until 1965. Since then he has been self-employed in a wide range of fields. Besides being an author and freelance journalist in all media, he also became a publisher of several magazines (Australasian Athletics, Fun Runner, the Australian Journal of Sports Medicine, Terpnos Logos - the journal of the Australian Society of Clinical and Medical Hypnotherapists, and the journals of the Australian Council of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the Australian General Practitioners Society), all of which he also printed in a small-offset business he then owned and operated. In 1970 Mike compiled, wrote and published the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's first-ever guide to the Commonwealth Games and followed this up in 1972 with the first ABC Guide to the Olympics. These guides were continued until 1988 when the world of sport, and particularly sporting media and publishing, changed for ever.
Besides all the above interests Agostini was actively engaged in product marketing, starting with Staminade, the first electrolyte-replacing drink in Australia (1967-70), and also synthetic running-track surfacing with Tartan which he did for 3M Company in the early '70s. He also got involved in event organisation and management, initially as the originator of the first jogging and fun-running series ever held in Australia (he also wrote Australia's first jogging book as well as being both editor and publisher of the only magazine on the subject, the very successful Fun Runner), then as Executive Director for the Sydney Marathon (1982-83) and the Sydney to Melbourne Westfield Ultra Marathon (1983-85), as well as organising the first-ever Sports Camps, held at the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales, in 1975-76, among many other such activities, including being a consultant in sport to Pan American World Airways from 1976 to 1981. A man of many different parts, indeed - and there is still much more to come, he says.
Having always been interested in matters of both a metaphysical and spiritual nature, partly because of his family background and early education, Mike Agostini has today become almost totally involved in writing about, researching and also studying the so-called occult, paranormal and supernatural. His first book, DEATH - The Ultimate Orgasm?, has already become an Australian bestseller in this genre, with The Dying Experience and Learning How to Live (DB2) well on its way to similar sales.
"Death is the biggest game of all, because it is the end of life as we know it," says Agostini, adding, "But then there seems to be something else." Hence his books and seeming obsession with these subjects, which he says - as he enters his eighth decade - need to be looked at without fear, and even positively.