Athlete


Date Inducted: 12 Oct 2012
Sport: Cycling
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Kathryn Watt OAM - Cycling

Kathy Watt made history at Barcelona in 1992 when she became the first Australian (male or female) to win an Olympic Cycling Road Race - then added Silver in the 3km Pursuit.

While that victory was historic it was merely the highlight of a 20 year international career which encompassed two Olympic Games, six World Championship campaigns, and four Commonwealth Games.

Fittingly she book-ended her long international career with victories in the road race at the Oceania Games – at her inaugural appearance in 1987 and at her final appearance in 2007. 

Kathy first came to prominence as a runner. Her father had been a marathon runner and initially she followed the same distance-running path, winning the National Junior 3km Title. An achilles injury caused her to train on a bike and for a time led to her competing in run/cycle duathalons, but eventually she settled on Cycling as her strength.

After her 1987 Oceania Games success (in both the Road Race the 3km Pursuit) she went to the 1988 World Championships where she was seventh in the 3km Pursuit but she hit the headlines  at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland where she won Gold in the Road Race and Silver in the 3km Pursuit.

After her Olympic success at Barcelona she won triple Gold at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada with victories in the Road Race, the 3km Pursuit and the Team Time Trial. 

Controversy surrounded her next Olympic appearance, in Atlanta 1996, when she was replaced in the pursuit by Lucy Tyler Sharman. Watt appealed to the International Court of Arbitration which ordered her to be reinstated. She rode and finished eighth. She also finished fourth in the Road Time Trial and ninth in the Road Race.

Always a strong-willed competitor, Watt also appealed against her non-selection for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She was not successful in that appeal, and, after a retirement and comeback, again failed to gain Olympic selection in 2004.

Her persistence was rewarded however with another comeback which produced  success in Europe (Chrono Champenois, France, 2005 and Rotheux, Belgium 2006) leading to her selection in the 2006 Commonwealth Games team in her home town of Melbourne where she won Silver in the Time Trial.

Along with her Olympic and multiple Commonwealth Gold and Silvers, Kathryn Watt was also Australian Road Racing champion five times and 3km Pursuit Champion seven times.

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When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his of her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness.