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Date Inducted:08 Oct 2009
Sport: Athletics
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The Don Award

Steven Hooker - Athletics

Steve Hooker kept Australia up late at night as he leapt for gold in the pole vault at Beijing. His third and final attempt at 5 metres 90 would give him victory - the first Australian man to win athletics gold for 40 years and our first Olympic field gold medal since 1948. To cap off a memorable night he would add the Olympic record to his haul as well.

Steve Hooker showed extraordinary courage, as well as a large measure of self belief, to win the pole vault at the World Athletic Championships in Berlin in August 2009. Hooke, the reigning Olympic champion, was suffering from a torn adductor and a neural problem in his upper thigh 12 days before competition. He defied the advice of team doctors and insisted onjumping. Realising he would be unable to sustain a long program, Hooker took a calculated risk and declined to jump until the bar was at 5.85m, when all but three jumpers had been eliminated. Hooker beat the pain barrier to claim a remarkable gold with a jump of 5.90m. Nobody had ever previously entered a major pole vault competition at such a height, and gone on to win.

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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.