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IOC feature Aussie legend Marjorie Jackson-Nelson in new series

13 September 2018

AOC: The Olympic Channel has launched their new animated short series ‘Words of Olympians’ with the first episode featuring none other than legendary Australian Olympian, ‘the Lithgow Flash’, The Hon Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE.

The IOC said the aim of the short series is to “bring to life some of the biggest moments in Olympic history, using only interviews with the Olympians themselves.” 

In the pilot episode, Jackson-Nelson talks about her early athletics career in her small home town of Lithgow, the journey to the Helsinki 1952 Games, and how life changed upon returning home as the first Australian woman to win Olympic gold in athletics. 

“In 1945 I didn’t really know much about the Olympics. My Dad worked in a factory making rifles for the war, he asked the chap who ran Lithgow Athletics Club if he’d train me, and I just did as I was told,” the Olympic champion said. 

“It took me six months to save up to buy my first pair of running shoes and I remember my first photo being in the paper when I was 15, as I’d won the country championship.”

Jackson-Nelson shared that from her very first win, her family ensured she stayed humble, with her Dad giving her the best advice any parent could give.”  

“God gave us all a gift, yours just happens to be running, but you’re no better than anyone else, and don’t you forget it,” he said. 

In 1952 Jackson-Nelson made it to the Olympic Games in Helsinki, winning back-to-back golds in the 100m and 200m events. Her 100m victory was the first gold medal won by any Australian on the track since the nation’s first ever Olympian, Edwin Flack in 1896. 

Throughout her careerthe Lithgow local set six individual world records and ran in a world record-setting Australian relay team. She was also the first Australian woman to break a world record. 

Jackson-Nelson won every NSW and Australian women’s title for the 100m and 200m between 1950 and 1954 and won seven Commonwealth Games gold medals during that time. 

In 1978 the Australian Olympic Federation bestowed upon her an Order of Merit and in 1985 she was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. 

Even after her illustrious sporting career, Jackson-Nelson was still intent on giving back to her country. 

At the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, less than two weeks after having back surgery and having to stand for the duration of the flight to Sydney, Marjorie helped carry the Olympic flag during the Opening Ceremony.

From 2001-2007 she also served as the Governor of South Australia, in 2008 she was honoured by the IOC with the Olympic Order and in 2013 was inducted into the IAAF Hall of Fame.

Liana Buratti

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