If you think British men are currently dominating short course racing or Aussie fellas ruling the roost at Ironman, consider that from 1992 through to 2000 – the effective length of Jackie Fairweather’s (née Gallagher) triathlon career – eight of the nine women’s International Triathlon Unions champions were Australian.
The ladies from Down Under were dominating the sport like never before and Gallagher, the latest interviewee of the Thanyapura Legends of Triathlon podcast, was playing a leading role.
A compulsive racer, who would run through short course fields to numerous podium positions on almost a week-by-week basis, Gallagher may have only topped the world once, in Cleveland in 1996, yet she doubled up with the world duathlon crown to become the only person ever to win both titles in the same year.
Fiercely competitive and with a background as a national standard runner, Fairweather was 24 years old when she dedicated herself to multisport after being spotted by Brett Sutton and started a combustible athlete-coach relationship with renown triathlon guru.
In the Legends interview, the straight-talking Fairweather reveals how she refused to be subservient to Sutton’s training demands, and how, with her Masters degree in Exercise Physiology the two set about innovating training techniques to succeed at the elite level.
Fairweather also divulges how she was driven by rivalries with some of her world-beating countrywomen like Emma Carney and Michellie Jones and how three times she finished runner-up in the world championships to add to her success in Ohio.
After overtraining and burnout led to Olympic rejection in 2000, the Canberra athlete explains how she was tempted back to her first love of running before claiming a remarkable bronze medal on an all-Aussie Commonwealth Games marathon podium in Manchester in 2002.
Even before her competitive sporting career ran its final race, Fairweather had turned to the administrative side and unexpectedly landed the role as inaugural coach of the Australian Institute of Sport Triathlon program in 2001.
Her vision for the AIS gave a structure for the next generation of multisport athletes and helped develop Sprint racing at youth level and the inception of the world Under-23 championships.
Fairweather’s thirst for Olympic competition was never realised personally, but she did marry into Games success, with her archer husband Simon making five appearances at the Games including one golden one in Sydney 2000.
On the turbo or on a training run, download and listen to the full Thanyapura Legends of Triathlon interview by visitingwww.legendsoftriathlon.com or download the podcast via iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/imtalks-legends-of-triathon/id484630310
Victories fade, legends don’t. The Thanyapura Legends of Triathlon is a monthly podcast brought to triathlon fans by John Newsom and Bevan James Eyles.
Legends already interviewed include Mark Allen, Greg Welch, Mike Pigg, Scott Tinley, Erin Baker, Karen Smyers, Scott Molina, Simon Whitfield and Spencer Smith.