CONGRATULATIONS to our own Michellie Jones who will tonight become only the second triathlete to be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in what will be a glittering 30th Anniversary of the prestigious awards and gala dinner at the Palladium, Crown in Melbourne.
Jones will be inducted alongside fellow Sydney Olympians – beach volleyball gold medallists Natalie Cook OAM and Kerri Pottharst OAM, Athens Olympic golden girl of the pool, Jodie Henry OAM, Paralympic legend and noted Paratriathlete Michael Milton OAM, Test cricketer Bill Lawry AM, swim coach Denis Cotterell and sports scientist Dick Telford AM.
The dinner, presented by Etihad Airways, is the largest annual collective gathering of Australian sporting champions and luminaries.
Jones, the two-time ITU World Champion in 1992 and 1993, the 2000 Olympic silver medallist and 2006 Hawaiian Ironman winner, is just the second Australian triathlete behind Greg Welch to be inducted into the SAHOF.
The 45-year-old Jones, who now resides in California, recently returned to the winners podium when she won an ITU Age Group world title in Edmonton and she will return home to the US to contest the World Championships for the Morgan Horse Association in her other love, equestrian.
“It’s like race day, I can’t believe how nervous I am just thinking about being inducted into the Hall of Fame. It’s very exciting,” said Jones.
“Even at home in the US, where I live people are sending me congratulations – so it’s good they get the importance of it as well.
“It is very special to think just how young the sport of triathlon is and to think we have two athletes in the Hall of Fame from a country that has such an amazing sporting history – it says a lot for our sport.
“It's definitely an honour to be considered for induction. It's a great reminder of all the achievements in your sport. To actually be inducted will be extra icing on the cake on my sporting career,” Jones said.
“I have been very blessed to be able achieve so much in the sport of triathlon. The sport of triathlon not only has defined me in my sporting life but also well beyond the playing field.
“Triathlon is a big part of who I am and it's like family having raced 25 years as a professional. I hope I have inspired others to believe that anything is possible no matter how unreachable it may seem.”
Jones was a trailblazer for her young sport. When she first medalled, with a bronze, at the 1991 Women’s ITU World Triathlon Championships, it was Australia’s first – our girls having missed out on the podium in the two initial editions.
But Jones’ path finding spirit and determination paved the way for an 11-year continuous stint of Aussie women on the victory dais of the event – and for many more since.
During that time she was unquestionably the most successful of a rampaging Australian squad which dominated the sport during that era. Jones medalled in those ITU World Championships on eight occasions, twice as champion – in 1992 and 1993 plus two silvers and three more bronze medals.
History reveals on that one simple measure the extent of Jones’ greatness - for to date, no other athlete has stood there post race more often than she.
In the same era she scored 12 World Cup victories, won the San Diego International 10 times and the Chicago Triathlon on seven occasions. She was the winner of the ITU’s overall World Cup tour crown in both 1998 and 2000, having been third in 1993.
When triathlon made its Olympic debut it was in Sydney, Jones’ home town and fittingly she was at the forefront of the action – taking the silver medal just seconds away from the gold.
But at 31 years of age she was not yet done and after her last world championship medals in 2001 and 2003, Jones moved up to the longer distances of Ironman racing.
In just her second attempt at the discipline in 2005, she was second in the world title, winning it the following year - becoming the first Australian woman (and the second Australian following Greg Welch) to take the legendary Kona Hawaii Ironman crown.
A qualified teacher, Jones began her sporting career in athletics - taking a bronze medal over 3000 metres in the Australian All Schools Track and Field Championships in 1986. But with a multi sport recreational background she quickly realised as triathlon emerged as a sport in its own right that it provided her with the platform to go much further.
She considers it a privilege to be included into the Hall of Fame as only the second triathlete after Welch, and fittingly therefore the first female to be inducted.
The Sport Australia Hall of Fame selection committee had no doubts about Jones’ special contribution to triathlon and Australian sport in general.
“Michellie Jones took Australian women’s triathlon to new heights, dominating the world from 1991 to 2003 in the hugely popular Olympic distance triathlon. Not satisfied, she then moved up to the full ironman, winning the legendary Kona Hawaiian Ironman in 2006,” Chair Robert de Castella said.
Another Australian golden girl who excelled in multi discipline events, Los Angeles heptathlon gold medallist, Glynis Nunn Cearns will have the honour of making the presentation to Michellie Jones on the occasion of her official Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction this evening.
“That’s the other cool thing too, finding out that Glynis was the one to make the presentation, that is so special, I just can’t wait,” said Jones.
A total of 382 sporting stars have previously been inducted as Athlete Members of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Along with 143 General Members, there are a total of 525 members of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame. The full list can be found here.
With a vision and values built around the words of the first inductee and Legend of Australian Sport, Sir Donald Bradman AC, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame is determined to carry to all Australians everywhere the symbol of excellence, as represented by all its members across all sports and genders.
Michellie Jones Winners List:
- 2 x ITU World Champion (1992, 1993)
- Sydney 2000 Olympic Games – silver medal
- 2 x ITU World Championship silver medals (1998, 2001)
- 4 x ITU World Championship bronze medals (1991, 1997, 2000, 2003)
- 12 x ITU World Cup wins
- 2 x ITU World Cup Series winner (1998, 2000)
- Ironman World Champion (2006)
- ITU Age Group World Champion (2014)
For more information about The Sport Australia Hall of Fame, visit www.sahof.org.au
The 30th Sport Australia Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala Dinner - presented by Etihad Airways
What: Australia’s most prestigious sporting awards ceremony
Date: TONIGHT - Thursday 9 October 2014
Time: Media arrival and red carpet from 6:00pm
Where: Palladium at Crown, Melbourne
Who: The largest collective gathering of Australian sporting champions and luminaries
- Eight inductees into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame
- Elevation of one member to become the “36th Legend of Australian sport”
- Presentation of “The Don” award
- Awarding of five scholarships to future champions, each assigned a Sport Australia Hall of Fame Member as their Mentor