Olympians nominated for NSW Champions of Sport Awards
22 November 2018
AOC: The 2018 awards season continues, with several more Olympians and Olympic sports recognised ahead of the NSW Champions of Sport Ceremony, to take place on November 27.
Dual Olympic medallist and the most successful slalom paddler in the world, Jess Fox, 2018 Diamond League Champion Brandon Starc, PyeongChang moguls silver medallist, Matthew Graham and triple-Olympian and silver medallist diver, Melissa Wu all feature as nominees for 'Athlete of the Year'.
The Aussie Spirit women's team are also up for 'Event of the Year' for their participation in the Softball Asia Pacific Cup; while Matildas head coach, Alen Stajcic, swimming's Adam Kable and athletic's Alex Stewart are all up for 'Coach of the Year.'
The ceremony will also pay tribute to the amazing people behind the scenes, with softball, hockey, swimming, football and judo all featuring as potential winners in 'Official of the Year' and 'Administrator of the Year.'
Five new inductees will be welcomed into the NSW Sports Hall of Champions, including dual summer and winter Olympian Jana Pittman and quadruple Olympic softball medallist Melanie Roche. Football's Julie Dolan, netball's Catherine Cox and motor racing's Mark Skaife will also be inducted.
Sport NSW said of the new Olympic inductees;
"Since 1979, 372 sportsmen and women representing 55 sports have been added to the Roll of Honour.
"Sporting icons such as Sir Donald Bradman, Dawn Fraser, Shane Gould and Dally Messenger are included in this prestigious list. More recent champions include Ian Thorpe, Layne Beachley and Michael O’Loughlin.
"Athletes are approved for induction by the Minister for Sport following nomination by the peak bodies of New South Wales sport and short-listed by the Hall of Champions Selection Committee."
Two World Championships and four Commonwealth Games gold medals have placed hurdler and 400m specialist Jana Pittman in the top echelon of Australian athletics history. Earning an IAAF Rising Star award early in her career, Jana is one of a select group of athletes to have won World Championships at Youth, Junior and Senior levels.
Jana’s two gold medals at the 2000 Santiago World Junior Championships saw her become the first woman ever to win the 400m and 400m hurdles double at any IAAF or IOC championships.
Excelling in the 400m hurdles, Jana’s first senior World Championship gold medal was in Paris in 2003. She won gold again in the same event in 2007 in Osaka, just eight months after the birth of her son.
Jana competed at two summer Olympic Games–Sydney, 2000, at the age of 17 and Athens in 2004. Injuries before the 2008 Olympic Games prevented her from seeking selection. At the 2002 Manchester and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Jana cliamed four gold medals across the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay events.
Her personal best in the 400m hurdles of 53.22 seconds, set in 2003 is still the NSW State record and is second only on the Australian all-time rankings to Debbie Flintoff-King. Jana also still holds NSW records in the Under-20 and Under-18 400m hurdles.
In 2014, Jana became the first ever Australian female athlete to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games when she was a member of the Australian two-woman bobsleigh team at the Sochi Winter Games.
Jana’s resilience and determination in the face of challenges has seen her recognised as one of Australia’s greatest female athletes.
One of the best softball pitchers in the world, Melanie Roche has earned the distinction of being only one of four Australian athletes in history to win a medal at four consecutive Summer Olympic Games. She was a crucial member of the Aussie Spirit team who won bronze medals at the Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and silver in Athens, 2004. Melanie’s Sydney 2000 performance included an impressive 0.00 ERA or earned run average.
An intimidating player, Melanie represented Australia for over two decades, gaining 229 caps with the Australian women’s national team. This includes four World Championships, where Melanie won bronze in 1994 and 2006, and silver in 1998.
Beginning her softball career with Campbelltown, Melanie was NSW captain from1996 to 2001. A dominant force at Australian Championships, she was named best pitcher at 12 national championships over a 15-year period.
Moving to the US, Melanie played for Oklahoma State University from 1990 to 1993, where she was twice voted First Team All-American. Her impressive record saw her inducted into the OSU Hall of Honor in 2011.
Her legendary pitching saw Melanie named Best Pitcher at the 2005 Canada Cup, one of the most prestigious international softball tournaments. She played professionally in Japan from 2001 with the Renesas Electronics Team and then took on coaching roles with teams playing in the Japanese League.
An ultra-competitive player best known for her angular velocity, Melanie was inducted into the Softball Australia Hall of Fame in 2012 and the World Baseball Softball Confederation Hall of Fame in 2017.
You can find out more about the awards and additional nominees HERE.