SHANE WARNE AND RON CLARKE ELEVATED TO LEGENDS
IN THE SPORT AUSTRALIA HALL OF FAME
Two of Australia’s late great sportsmen, cricket great Shane Warne AO and champion distance runner Ron Clarke AO MBE have been elevated to Legend status in the nation’s most prestigious sporting club, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Warne, who was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2009 as an athlete Member, transformed and popularised the art of leg-spin bowling like no other person before him taking an extraordinary 708 wickets from his 145 Tests. Clarke was one of the 120 inaugural athlete Members to be officially inducted in 1985. He was one of the world’s greatest distance runners, etching his name into Australian sporting history with his record-breaking achievements, fierce determination and grace and humility on and off the track.
The annual elevation of Sport Australia Hall of Fame Members to Legend status is the most prestigious sporting honour that can be bestowed on an Australian. Legend status provides an opportunity to celebrate and honour Members who have distinguished themselves at the highest level and their achievements are considered part of Australian folklore.
“Shane Warne and Ron Clarke are the true definition of Legends. Inspirations to all Australians. We are thrilled to announce their well-deserved elevation to Legend status within the Sport Australia Hall of Fame,” said Sport Australia Hall of Fame Legend and Chair John Bertrand AO.
“They symbolise everything that is great about sport in Australia.”
Sport Australia Hall of Fame Members must be retired for 15 years before being considered for elevation to Legend status. The annual elevation of Legend/s is voted by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Board based on recommendations by the Selection Committee.
On Thursday night, in the television special Sport Australia Hall of Fame: Heroes and Legends on the Seven Network, Warne’s father Keith and former Australian captain Allan Border AO will reflect on the leg-spinner’s life while marathon runner Steve Moneghetti AM and Clarke’s son, Marcus, will pay tribute to these two greats and now officially, Legends.
SHANE WARNE AO
For more than half of his short but action-packed life, Shane Warne was not only one of the most identifiable and envied Australians on the planet, he was also one of the most innovative and dominant.
Warne had an extraordinary 15-year Test career, with his on-field dominance and Aussie spirit ensuring maximum box-office appeal.
He is the greatest wicket-taker in Australian Test cricket history, taking an extraordinary 708 wickets from his 145 Tests at an average of 25.41 and another 293 wickets in one-day internationals at an average of 25.73.
He became the first player in 90 years to take a hat-trick in an Ashes series in 1994, fittingly in front of his adoring home crowd at the MCG.
He broke, fellow Legend, Dennis Lillee’s long-standing Australian record of 355 Test wickets in 2000 and went on to become the first player to push through the 700-wicket barrier in his final Test series in 2006-07 by dismissing England’s Andrew Strauss at the MCG.
His one-time bowling coach, former Australian leg-spinner Terry Jenner, predicted cricket was about to be transformed forever.
“I know what is going to happen here,” Jenner said at the time. “Warne will inspire thousands of kids to bowl leg-spin and you will see all the junior rep teams stocked with them.”
Then he added tellingly that Warne would remain a ‘one off’ from the production line of young leg-spinners because he was in a world of his own.
Among the many accolades heaped on Warne, one of the most significant came in 2000 when he was chosen as one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the 20th Century. Other accolades included his name adorning the trophy (which he shares with Muttiah Muralitharan) for Test series contested between Australia and Sri Lanka, being inducted into the Cricket Australia Hall of Fame in 2012 and the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2013.
Warne’s playing record, sense of theatre, capacity to rise to the occasion and larger-than-life character will ensure he stands eternally among the greats of international cricket.
His name will forever adorn the MCG’s Great Southern Stand and he was posthumously appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2022 for his services to cricket and his varied philanthropic contributions.
RON CLARKE AO MBE
In a remarkable career, Ron Clarke broke 17 official world records, including 12 in an extraordinary 44-day tour of Europe in 1965 and held every world record from two miles to the one-hour run.
Albeit Clarke’s dominance, he did not yield the Olympic gold medal which had seemed his destiny, but his sixth in Mexico City in 1968 proved to be one of the Games’ most courageous, although distressing moments.
Clarke started as the gold medal favourite in the 10,000m, but the dangerously thin air in the high-altitude conditions not only cost him any chance of success it almost cost him his life. He would say: “I died after it, my heart stopped for a few beats.”
His determined pursuit of a medal pushed him on, even when his body was willing him to stop. He kept running even when the chance of a medal was gone.
Clarke was gasping for air and collapsed as he fell over the line. The image of Australian team doctor Brian Corrigan, with a hand held to his head in despair while administering oxygen to Clarke, remains one of the most distressing in Olympic Games history. It wasn’t until years later that Clarke found out about the damage that had been done to his heart.
Clarke received a host of honours in recognition of his achievements in 1965. He was voted BBC International Sportsman of the Year, World Sportsman of the Year by the International Association of Sports Writers, Australian Sportsman of the Year, and Athlete of the Year by the prestigious Track and Field News (USA) and World Sports (UK). The French Academy of Sport selected him as its World Sportsman of the Year in 1966.
During his flurry of races in 1965 two significant performances stood out, in London when he became the first man to run three miles under 13 minutes and then four days later in Oslo taking 36.2 seconds off the 10,000m world record. He was also, at 19 years old, was chosen by Melbourne Olympic officials to light the cauldron at the 1956 Games.
He competed in three Commonwealth Games – Perth in 1962, Kingston in 1966 and Edinburgh in 1970 – and won a total of four silver medals. He represented Australia in two Olympic Games, Tokyo in 1964 and Mexico City in 1968. In Tokyo he was ninth in the 5000m, won bronze in the 10,000m and was eighth in the marathon. In Mexico City he finished sixth in the 10,000m and fifth in the 5000m.
In 2013 Clarke was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) “for distinguished service to the community through a range of leadership roles with local government and philanthropic organisations and to the promotion of athletics.” In 1966, he became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and was also Mayor of the Gold Coast City Council.
SPORT AUSTRALIA HALL OF FAME: HEROES AND LEGENDS
Thursday, December 8, straight after Seven’s coverage of the Australia v West Indies Test, live from Adelaide Oval:
- Sydney/Melbourne: 10:30pm on Channel 7
- Brisbane – 9:30pm on Channel 7
- Adelaide – 10:00pm on Channel 7
- Perth – 7:30pm on 7mate
Bruce McAvaney OAM, Hamish McLachlan and Abbey Gelmi will host Channel 7’s special broadcast Sport Australia Hall of Fame: Heroes and Legends on Thursday night (December 8), which features interviews with Keith Warne, Allan Border AO, Steve Moneghetti AM and Marcus Clarke, as well at the nine new inductees into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame – Mark Webber AO, Karrie Webb AO, Chris Judd, Brad Fittler, Catherine Cox AM, Dr Adrian Hurley OAM, Cara Honeychurch, Tanya Harding and Sir George Bedbrook OBE.The winner of The Don Award and The Dawn Award will also be announced.
The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards program is sponsored by Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport, and proudly supported by Sportscover and Victoria University.For further information, please contact:
Jordie Browne – Stamping Ground
0438 558 040Michelle Stamper – Stamping Ground
0413 117 711