Charlie Walsh is without a doubt the most successful Australian cycling coach. During Walsh’s period of influence, Australia became a leader in track cycling and he provided the opportunity for the evolvement of the National Under 23 road team in Italy.
Walsh has coached Australian track cyclists to major success at the elite level, including world sprint champions, world Kerin champions, Olympic sprint champions, pursuit champions (individual and team) and Madison champions.
His cyclists have won a total of 78 gold medals (seven Olympic, 35 World Championships, 36 Commonwealth Games), 50 silver (11 Olympic, 20 World Championships, 19 Commonwealth Games) and 51 bronze (16 Olympic, 27 World Championships, eight Commonwealth Games), setting 44 records (12 Olympic, 10 World Championships, 22 Commonwealth Games).
Walsh is well known in Australia for his stance against the use of performance enhancing drugs and it is widely recognised that the feats his riders achieved were solely due to training and not the use of performance enhancing drugs. He is known as a leader who challenged his charges taking them to new levels of performance. He listened, researched and innovatively applied the results of his research into the development of Australia’s training programs.
A highlight of Walsh’ career was the gold medal won by the 4000m team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The win by the Australians was the first cycling gold medal since 1956. The team rode conventional bikes while their opponents rode revolutionary new style bikes. The win contributed significantly to raising the profile of cycling in Australia.
He has been recognised by the world governing body for cycling (FIAC) by being appointed along with one other leading coach to advise FIAC on such issues as coaching development and the structure of events for major competitions such as the World Championships and Olympic Games.
He was awarded Coach of the Year for all sports in Australia in 1982 and 1984, Individual Coach of the Year for all sports in 1993 and 1995 and Team Coach of the Year for all sports in 1993 and 1995.
Walsh was recognised for his services to cycling when he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1987.