While it was not Triathlon Australia’s usual awards night, the 2020 Celebration of Champions was a celebration, nonetheless. The online event recognised and celebrated the achievements of the triathlon community despite challenging times.
Celebrations saw six Aussies – Annabel Luxford, Jenny Alcorn, Craig Redman, Ken Murley, Jane Mountford, and Chris Hill, added to the honours list of the Legend of the Sport Award, each reaching the pinnacle of triathlon in their own special way and playing a role in shaping the sport into what it is today.
A trio of champions were presented with the Service to the Sport Award, each having contributed enormously to the sport of triathlon for multiple decades; Editor of Australia’s first triathlon magazine, Triathlon Sports, and media connoisseur Aileen Southwell, founding President of one of Australia’s first triathlon clubs, John Holt, and pioneer triathlon race organisers and duo, Barry and Julie Voevodin.
Recognised in the field of coaching was Steve Davis from Victoria, named Age Group Coach of the Year for his ability to provide an inclusive coaching environment and valuable opportunities for his athletes to develop a true understanding of the sport of triathlon. While Margaret George from New South Wales and Peter Adams from Tasmania were named as joint winners of the esteemed Rob George Award for their outstanding contributions to the Technical Official program.
In the elite award categories, Newcastle’s Lauren Parker was acknowledged for an outstanding season of results taking home the Female Paratriathlon Performance of the Year award. For Parker, the 2019/20 season was a memorable one – becoming 2019 ITU World Champion, alongside many impressive podium finishes. Fellow New South Welshman, Jonathan Goerlach was announced as the recipient of the Male Paratriathlon Performance of the Year award after a stellar season of racing culminating in a gold medal at the 2020 Devonport ITU World Paratriathlon Series.
The night also saw Sarah Crowley recognised and awarded the Female Performance of the Year award for her outstanding results – a bronze medal at the 2019 Kona Ironman World Championship, the fastest Australian in history across this course, as well as her numerous silver medals across Ironman Asia Pacific Championships (IM & 70.3) and Challenge Roth. Tasmania’s Jake Birtwhistle again was celebrated with both the Male Performance of the Year award and the Athlete’s Athlete of the Year award for a third consecutive season, after a string of impressive gold medal efforts throughout the 2019/20 racing season.
Up and coming athlete from New South Wales, Lorcan Redmond, shot onto the world stage with exceptional promise and potential after winning a silver medal at the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Lausanne and was awarded with the Chris Hewitt Emerging Athlete award.
To round out the evening of celebrations, Triathlon Australia inducted Emma Moffatt as the 15th member of the Hall of Fame. Moffatt, a three-time Olympian and two-time World Champion, made Australian Olympic history by becoming the first triathlete (alongside Erin Densham) to compete at three Olympic Games. With a career spanning over a decade, Emma Moffatt has earned her place among the sports’ greatest triathletes.