As 2019 comes to a close the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) is reflecting on the previous ten years of standout performances from Australia’s best athletes.
This year, swimmers Matthew Wilson, Cate Campbell and Bronte Campbell combined as part of the FINA World Swimming Championships team that won gold in the 4x100m mixed medley relay – a new Olympic event for Tokyo 2020.
It was also an exceptional 2019 for Lauren Parker, who became the women’s paratriathlon world champion just two years after her life-changing training accident. In the velodrome, cyclist Ashlee Ankudinoff took two world titles in the individual and team pursuit events at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships.
The decade of success began in Canada when Torah Bright became the first NSWIS athlete to win a Winter Olympic medal. After a huge four years in the lead up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, the snowboarder won gold for Australia in the half-pipe and would go on to become the country’s most successful Winter Olympian.
In 2011, one of Australia’s most recognisable swimmers, James Magnussen, became the first Aussie to win the men’s 100m freestyle world title at the FINA World Swimming Championships.
Magnussen would go on to win silver the following year at the London 2012 Olympics in the same event, missing the gold by a mere 0.01 seconds. Also in London, kayaker Murray Stewart (pictured) won Olympic gold as part of the Australian men’s K4 1000m crew. Soon after at the Paralympics, Jacqueline Freney created history by winning an incredible eight gold medals from eight events, becoming the most successful athlete at a single Paralympic Games in history.
Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, now one of Australia’s most successful Snowboard Cross athletes, defended his world title at the 2013 FIS Snowboarding World Championships. In the pool, James Magnussen did the same in the men’s 100m freestyle.
2014 saw the introduction of 14-year-old Ben Tudhope, the youngest Paralympian to compete for Australia at a Winter Olympics. Canoe slalom paddler Jessica Fox capped off another successful season by winning gold in both K1 & C1 events at the 2014 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, becoming the first female in history to win the double.
With seven athletes from the NSW Institute of Sport, the Aussie Diamonds won the 2015 Netball World Cup in Sydney, incredibly their 11th world championship.
After being ranked number one for the majority of the preceding four years, at the Rio 2016 Olympics sailor Tom Burton won gold in the men’s laser. Soon after in the Paralympics, swimmer Maddison Elliot won three gold medals, whilst the Aussie men’s wheelchair rugby team – featuring NSWIS athletes Ryley Batt, Cameron Carr and Andrew Edmondson – also claimed the gold medal.
2017 was a milestone year for rowing in Australia. For the first time in 26 years, the Men’s Four won gold at the World Rowing Championships, featuring NSWIS athletes Jack Hargreaves, Joshua Hicks and Spencer Turrin. It was also a big 2017 for the world-class NSWIS Moguls Program, with Britteny Cox named world champion and winner of the FIS World Cup Crystal Globe.
Last year, Jessica Fox became the greatest female paddler in history following wins again in both the C1 & K1 at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships. Australia won two silver medals at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and both of them came from NSWIS athletes; snowboarder Jarryd Hughes and moguls skier Matthew Graham. In the 2018 Paralympics, Melissa Perrine claimed two bronze medals in her Para Alpine Skiing events. Shortly after, NSWIS athletes contributed to 22 gold, 16 silver and 9 bronze medals at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Director of Corporate & Communications, Kirsten Thomson, has worked at NSWIS since 2006 and has witnessed first-hand the huge number of outstanding achievements throughout the decade.
“When I reflect on the past ten years, I am really proud of the achievements of NSWIS athletes. These athletes have become the world’s best, they inspire the community, and NSWIS certainly has a remarkable history of success.”
“It’s gone by so quickly, it really feels like yesterday when Torah Bright was winning gold for Australia. That was such a big moment for the country and for NSWIS.
“Knowing how special the environment is here at the moment, the coaches and experts we have, I can only expect that the next ten years will be even more successful and I feel privileged to be part of Team NSWIS.”