As 2018 draws to a close, we look back on a year that was headlined by an incredible number of NSW Institute of Sport athletes competing at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics as well as the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
In PyeongChang, a total of 38 NSWIS supported athletes participated across both events, winning a total of two silver and two bronze medals. Winter Olympic silver was earned by both Jarryd Hughes (Snowboard Cross) and Matt Graham (Mogul Skiing) – recently named our joint M.J. Bale Male Athlete of the Year – while Melissa Perrine claimed two alpine skiing bronze medals at the Winter Paralympics.
Just two months later, 87 of our athletes were selected to compete in Australia’s home Commonwealth Games, culminating in a total of 7 medals; 22 gold, 16 silver and 9 bronze.
A special mention goes to Madison de Rozario (Office of Sport Female Athlete of the Year Finalist) who took gold in both the T54 1500m and marathon events before amazingly claiming victory in the London Marathon just one week later.
Outside of these major events, NSWIS also boasted a number of world’s best athletes in 2018.
Jessica Fox – our Office of Sport Female Athlete of the Year – took out the C1 and K1 Canoe Slalom World Championship double to become the greatest individual slalom paddler of all time. Her success at the year’s benchmark event topped off an incredible season which saw Fox take home a total of eight World Cup gold medals, including five from five in the C1 events, to finish as the World Cup series winner in both categories.
At the 2018 Para Rowing World Championships, Erik Horrie won an amazing fifth-consecutive World Championship title in the PR1 Single Skulls while smashing his own world’s best time. Jack Hargreaves, Joshua Hicks and Spencer Turrin also combined to win gold in the Coxless Fours for the second-straight year.
In August, Thomas Cornish became a Junior Track Cycling World Champion in the 1km Time Trial event, breaking a Junior World Record in doing so.
A special mention also goes to Brandon Starc who completed a sensational season of high jump competition. After claiming gold at the Commonwealth Games, Starc equalled the long-held Australian record of 2.36m before becoming just the fourth Australian to claim an IAAF Diamond League title by taking out the 2018 High Jump Series.
The Australian men’s and women’s water polo teams, featuring a number of NSWIS athletes, both celebrated FINA World Cup podiums this year. The Aussie Sharks took an historic silver medal, whilst the Aussie Stingers claimed bronze.
At the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup, the Kookaburras performed outstandingly to take home a bronze medal.
It has also been an exceptional year for Kurt Fearnley OAM, who has been named the 2019 New South Wales Australian of the Year, the national winner of which will be announced in January. The veteran NSWIS athlete won gold at the Commonwealth Games, received Sport Australia’s coveted ‘The Don Award’, and accepted the ‘Best Sporting Moment of the Year Award’ from the Australian Institute of Sport for para sports’ inclusion in the Commonwealth Games.