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Legends of Multisport
The Legend of Multisport Award recognises people who have not only distinguished themselves at a high level of sporting performance with achievements considered superior to the majority of their peers, and who have made a greater impact on the sport of triathlon in Australia and around the world by inspiration or example to others.
This award honours those individuals who have made a significant contribution to the sport, irrespective of duration, that will have positively promoted multisport. Their dedication and commitment coupled with good character will have led to successful achievements that will have enhanced public and/or commercial interest in triathlon. The Triathlon Victoria Legends of Multisport are:
When we talk of Victorian pioneers of our sport one name stands out as probably the most successful Victorian triathlete in terms of race wins at both elite and age group level.
Like Stephen Foster, Tim Bentley was at the sports beginning in Australia. Australian Sprint Champion in 1983, a foundation member of the Geelong Triathlon Club and Australian ‘Endurathon’ winner in 1986 Tim was an athlete with an incredible run leg. He frequently started the run ‘down the field’ and proceeded to run himself onto the podium at all levels. Like all ‘pioneer’ triathletes of the early period Tim competed across all distances winning at Sprint, Olympic and Long Course. In the golden age of our sport Tim’s ability stood out and he ‘bested’ many of the superstars of the era.
Triathlon Australia Hall of Fame and inaugural ITU Hall of Fame triathlete Emma Carney dominated the mid 1990's in Sprint and Olympic Distance triathlon. The first of the three World Champion 'Emma’s', with Snowsill and Moffat the other two. She is a two-time World Champion, winning the 1994 world title by a record margin of 2 minutes 12 seconds, was number one ranked athlete in 1995, 1996 and 1997 and had 19 world cup wins with 12 straight during this time.
Her fellow athletes marvelled at her hard - 'all or nothing' attitude with training and with competition. Forced to retire for health reasons, she had continued to be involved and as a coach and Triathlon Australia board member.
Stephen Foster is a Triathlon Australia Hall of Fame athlete. He first competed in 1983 and within a few short years was at the top of the sport in Australia. As an 18 year old Steve was third at the ‘Triple M’ Triathlon ironman distance behind Scott Tinley and Marc Dragan and third at the first Forster ironman distance behind American Grant Boswell and Marc Dragan again. Steve was Triathlete of the Year three of the four years it was held in the 80's, was the National Series Champion, five times National Olympic Distance Champion, as well as National Long Course Champion. Prize money and local victories were key measures of success but the primary way in which achievements of the Australian athletes was measured was success against the world’s best. Foster was the first Aussie male to have significant success over the best, beating Scott Tinley, and Rob Barel in Australia and finishing ahead of Dave Scott, Mark Allen and Scott Molina in the 1987 unofficial World Championships, going on win the world’s biggest race, Chicago ahead of Mike Pigg.
David and Penny Hansen
Whilst the public face of Supersprint is David Hansen those close to the sport know how important Penny Hansen’s contribution has been. Both have been involved in the sport since its beginnings in Australia. After putting his toes in the water to be a pro triathlete and finishing ahead of legends Brad Beven and Steve Foster in a couple of races David determined his focus was better deployed at administration with Penny. Starting the Captains Triathlon and in 1987 Supersprint Port Arlington (won by other Legend Tim Bentley) pre empted the formation of the company that bore its name and that we know well today. A foundation member of the Geelong Triathlon Club with legend Greg Stewart - Australia’s first Hawaii podium achiever - and life member of that club David was also a founding member of the predecessor to TV the Triathlon Association of Victoria.
So over a quarter century in the sport later and Victoria leads the way in commercial racing with a level of professionalism that other states admire. In the same year David and Penny also arranged the first National Triathlon Convention. Crucially SuperSprint organised the inaugural 2000 Olympic Triathlon as well as 6 ITU Triathlon World Cups leading up to the Olympics staged 5 UCI Women’s Road Cycling World Cups in Geelong over 10 Australian Championships and races in Singapore and Fiji and now runs the Challenge brand in Australia.
Back in the nineties, Jo was nicknamed “the sponge” for her dedication to learning to train and compete as a triathlete. She first appeared on the radar in 1995 where she made the world junior team in Cancun. In 1996 Jo blitzed the junior scene winning the junior race at the ITU World Championships at Cleveland USA. In 1997 Jo won the National Open Sprint title and had three top tens at World Cup races. In 1998, Jo broke through into the senior ranks winning the ITU World Championships in Lausanne, on the highly technical and very hilly Lausanne ahead of Michellie Jones. Jo moved easily into Long course winning the 1998 Frankston Australian Long Course Champs, and finishing second in the same year at Ironman Forster (23rd out right) and a world record female debut Ironman time. In 1999 in Montreal at the worlds Jo was one of the big five. Australia had six competitors at the worlds and were 1st 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th with our sixth athlete coming in 21st – Jo was run down in that race and came in fifth. No great surprise when you understand that she competed following doing the Formula One series, Australian Championships, World Cups, (winning in Belgium) 2nd in the ITU World Long Course and winning IM Australia (first Aussie anyway…), 1st at IM Roth and coming 9th in Hawaii. In 2000 Jo went back to Kona and came 11th and in 2001 she created a course record at the Forster Half IM.
Before becoming a triathlete, Rohan Phillips had more than ten years experience as a cyclist. Reading in an American bicycling magazine about cyclist John Howard’s third place finish at Ironman Hawaii in 1980, then hearing about Howard’s 1981 win, Phillips was inspired to enter the event. He had moderate success as a runner at school, but no swimming experience whatsoever. Phillips first plunged into a pool four months before his debut triathlon, the 1981 Nautilus Melbourne Triathlon, which he won. The winner’s prize was a ticket to compete in the February 1982 Ironman Hawaii. Swimming inexperience probably thwarted Phillip’s overall placing on the day, although he managed the twelfth fastest bike time with two punctures. On the run he happened to find himself keeping pace with Julie Moss as she ran into the lead, and then as she began to struggle he gave up on his own objectives and stayed with her. Not only did he witness the dramatic end of the women’s race (when second placed woman Kathleen McCarthy passed Moss as she crawled across the finish), Phillips was also in the television footage of the race shown repeatedly on sports programs around the world.
Back in Australia, Rohan Phillips went on to launch an unbroken winning streak over a period of approximately twenty months. Among his Australian wins, were the 1982 Hastings triathlon and 1982 Geelong Endurathon, both inaugural events, the 1983 Ocean Grove Triathlon, the Sri Chinmoy Triathlon held in Adelaide in March 1983, the second Hastings Triathlon, the first Gold Coast Triathlon in May 1983, the 1983 Melbourne [Nautilus Triathlon] and the 1983 XXXX Coral Coast Triathlon in Cairns. The winning streak only ended in November 1983 when Phillips competed in the second Geelong Endurathon just one week after racing in Hawaii.
Phillips brought an independent approach to the challenges presented by triathlon; he wore skin suits made by Hillman Cycles long before others picked up on the idea, bolted cycling shoes to his bike pedals to make transitions quicker, and kept a nutrition diary. In 1984, as President of the Diamond Valley Triathlon Club, Phillips, together with Mark Cera and cyclist Wayne Deller, staged the Kew Boulevarde Triathlon. The following year he competed in the 1985 United States Triathlon Series, claiming a number of top ten finishes and a win in the Los Angeles Triathlon, before returning to cycling in the second half of the 1980s. By then his renowned debut at Hawaii, his innovations and his victories over all of Australia’s best triathletes, including wins at many inaugural triathlons, made Phillips’ brief career the stuff of triathlon folklore.