10 Most Influential in Oz


The 10 most influential people in Australian athletics

THURSDAY, 29 DECEMBER 2011 15:00

Defining influence is just as difficult as defining Australian athletics; it’s as subjective as our sport is broad. Here’s our list of the 10 most influential people in athletics:

01 Simon Hollingsworth

The new head of the Australian Sports Commission, which now provides 59% of Athletics Australia’s annual revenue, has major clout in controlling the purse-strings of the sport. A Rhodes scholar, sub 50 second 400m hurdler and Olympian, Hollingsworth has prior knowledge of the inner workings of Athletics Australia from his time on the Board as head of the Athlete’s Commission in the 1990s.

02 Angus Dillon

The General Manager of Fairfax Events controls an ever growing suite of community events, including Sydney’s City to Surf. Running in community events, outside of the formal membership structures of the sport, is the way at most Australian’s engage with athletics, and Fairfax is the major provider in the industry.

03 Kerry O’Keefe

The CEO of the largest member-based athletics body in the country, Little Athletics NSW, O’Keefe is highly respected by contemporaries and has a ‘whole of sport’ perspective to guiding an organisation that provides athletics to close to 40,000 junior athletes annually. O’Keefe’s progressive mindset has seen many successful developments such as a jointly funded Development Officer with Athletics NSW in the Hunter area, which was used as the case study through which Athletics Australia and Little Athletics Australia were granted funding for similar initiatives (and further roll-out in NSW) earlier this year.

04 Eric Hollingsworth

The High Performance Manager of Athletics Australia (no relation to Simon) is making his department’s presence felt much more widely across the sport than his predecessors, ranging from athlete funding, selection philosophy, media and the shape of the domestic season.

05 Eddie McGuire

‘Eddie Everywhere’ may have only turned up to only 43% of Board meetings during his six years as a Director of Athletics Australia, but the Collingwood Football President and Channel Nine personality is the most connected and has the largest public profile of those entrusted with the governance of the sport nationally.

06 Brian Roe

A man of many hats, Roe is the most connected person in Australian athletics. Member of the IAAF Technical Commission, former Athletics Australia Competition Manager, President of Athletics Tasmania, lawyer, journalist and logistics expert utilised by the Australian Commonwealth Games Federation and Jump Media, there is little of importance in Australian athletics that Roe is unaware of.

07 Maurie Plant

As Athletics Australia’s international athlete liaison Plant is the man who secures foreign athletes services to compete during the domestic season. Also an accredited IAAF athlete manager, he is well connected in Europe and acts as agent for many of Australia’s top athletes.

08 Mike Hurst

The Daily Telegraph sub-editor has a diverse range of international and domestic contacts built through decades of involvement in the sport (including coaching credentials of guiding Darren Clark to successive Olympic 400m finals). Hurst has the unique ability to shape the quantity and tone of print coverage of athletics in Sydney, particularly with the Sydney Morning Herald lacking an athletics correspondent.

09 David Culbert

The Olympic long jumper, Commonwealth Games medallist and former Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors heads Jump Media & Marketing. Although Jump are no longer engaged as Athletics Australia’s media arm, Culbert is brilliant television commentator and member of the IAAFs Television Commission, while Jump continues to have enormous respect among media and athletes alike, promoting Australia’s iconic Stawell Gift, the Run for the Kids fun run in Melbourne and assisting with the management of Olympic champion Steve Hooker’s public relations.

10 Steve Hooker

Not generally a tag labeled upon those while still competing, Hooker is a legend of Australian sport. Olympic and world champion, both in circumstances which showed his mental toughness as much as his physical prowess, Hooker also displays exceptional leadership skills as the captain of the Australian athletics team.

Both influence and what constitutes the sport of athletics are both subjective. What are your thoughts on who the most influential people in Australian athletics are?
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That is awesome! Way to go. It is always great to be rewarded for hard work, sacrifice, and dedication. May many more honors to come your way in years to come!

Fantastic - well done :slight_smile: