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27/02/1924 - 21/10/2006

William Thompson Long OAM was Inducted into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1991 as a General Member for his contribution to the sport of cycling.

Bill Long promoted the sport of cycling at all levels. He has served the sport in every capacity as an amateur and professional road and track rider, club president, organiser, official, handicapper, judge, promoter, team manager, coach, sporting journalist and broadcaster. He was involved in three pivotal actions; bringing international champions to Australia, introducing drug testing, and unifying the professional and amateur bodies. 

He became the youngest councillor of the League of Victorian Wheelmen in 1948 and its youngest president in 1954 at age 30. He served again as president in 1974 for six years and was awarded Life Membership in 1979. His association with the LVW spanned 40 years. He was also national president of the Australian Professional Cycling Council (previously known as the Australian Cycling Council) in 1977 and awarded him Life Membership in 1991, president of Victorian Veteran Cycling Council in 1990 and awarded Life Membership in 1999, national president of Australian Veteran Cycling Council in 1993 and awarded Life Membership in 2003.

Long has been the manager of Victorian and Australian teams to national and world championships and Australian delegate to UCI World Cycling Conferences. He was the first Australian delegate (professional) to a UCI World Cycling Conference in 1963.

A highly respected official with the world cycling countries, he has brought about many changes to international racing regulations. He promoted cycling in Australia in almost every discipline including Australia’s most traditional events the Melbourne to Warrnambool Road Race, the Austral, the Melbourne Cup on Wheels, state, national, amateur, professional, schoolboy and veteran championships, weekly track carnivals, world record attempts, madisons, omniums, 24-hour races, and 49 Six-Day bike races offering rich prize-money and innovative incentive payment contracts bringing international champions to Australia. He was involved in the creation of The Sun Tour of Victoria in 1952 with Laurie Jones (founder), Ben Kerville, Harry Lovell, Snowy Munro and Chalmers Watt. He organised the road and track dress rehearsals for the Melbourne Olympic Games. Such was Long’s innovation for cycling promoting he even got a political party, The Nationals, to sponsor an 8-day bike tour around country Victoria criss-crossing each electoral boundary.

He was a cycling commentator with the ABC from 1956 and covered more than three Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and World Cycling Championships.

Long was invited to Japan from 1973 to 1978 as a specialist sprint coach and from 1975 had 3 professional cyclists win 14 medals (10 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze) in 12 UCI World Championships (1975-1986) putting Japan on the world stage for sprint cycling excellence.  One of those cyclists, Koichi Nakano, won a record 10 world professional sprint titles – the blue-ribbon event – 10 years running from 1977 to 1986. In 1976 Long was honoured by the Fédération Japonaise de Cyclisme Professionnel.

He worked in the bicycle trade, first at Hartley’s, as a travelling salesman before and after serving in World War Two, then as a retailer, Progress Bicycle Company, for 37 years, mechanic, manufacturer and expo director. He was the Retail Cycle Traders Australia president in 1963, then secretary in 1964 for 24 years, steering it from a state association to a national one in 1979. In 1983 he created the Bike of the Year Award and in 1984 Bike Expo and ran 8 Expo’s, now known as Bicycling Australia Show. The RCTA awarded him Life Membership in 1985.

In his spare time, Long played cricket with various clubs including the AIF during World War Two and RSL Victoria after the war, then Collingwood (1957-1963) and Elsternwick (1963-1976) Cricket Clubs having Captained both First XI and Second XI as left-hand opening bat. Elsternwick Cricket Club awarded him Life Membership in 1975.

At one stage, circa 1969-1973, Long entered into the arena of boxing having Lionel Rose, Henry Nissen, Tony Mundine, Paul Ferreri and Rocky Mattioli under contract.

Cycling Awards and Events Established 

  • 1952 “The Sun” 9-Day Tour of Victoria, 900 miles
  • 1953 Echuca Centenary 3-Day Tour, 494 miles
  • 1954 “Sporting Globe” Sydney to Melbourne 7-Day Tour, 972 miles (with Sid Freshwater)
  • 1956 “Repco” Olympic Amateur 7-Day Tour, 830 miles — the world’s richest amateur road-marathon
  • 1957 Victorian Schoolboy Cycling Championships
  • 1958 Russell Mockridge Medal
  • 1959 Australian Cyclist of the Year Award
  • 1967 Hubert Opperman Trophy “Oppy Oscar” and “Oppy Medal”
  • 1977 “Four’ N Twenty” Melbourne to Berri 4-Day Tour, 747km
  • 1978 “National Party” 8-Day Cycle Tour, 800km
  • 1983 Bike Expo and Bike of the Year Award
  • 1987 King of the Mountain Championship Wangaratta-to-Mt Buffalo, 183km
  • 1990 VicHealth Masters Games Nepean Peninsula Cyclists’ Championships
  • 1994 Opperman Weekend Grand Prix Rochester
  • 1996 VicHealth International 6-Day Bike Road Race, 532km

Honours and Achievements

  • 1954: Awarded Life Membership with the Mordialloc Professional Cycle Club
  • 1963: Federazione Ciclistica Italiana
  • 1963: Union Cycliste Internationale Delegate
  • 1973: Channel 9 Sportman’s Committee
  • 1975: Awarded Life Membership with the Elsternwick Cricket Club
  • 1975: Awarded Life Membership with the Yooralla Hospital School for Crippled Children Life Governor
  • 1976 Montréal Olympic Games Special Contribution in Broadcasting
  • 1976 Fédération Japonaise de Cyclisme Professionnel
  • 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games Special Contribution in Broadcasting
  • 1979 Lions Club of Australia Sportsmanship
  • 1979: Awarded Life Membership with the League of Victorian Wheelmen
  • 1985: Awarded Life Membership with the Retail Cycle Traders Australia
  • 1988 Seoul Olympic Games Special Contribution in Broadcasting
  • 1988 Confederation of Australian Sport and Sport Australia Awards – Certificate
  • of Outstanding Performance for Best Organisation & Presentation of a Sporting Event – 1988 King of the Mountain Championship Wangaratta-to-Mount Buffalo
  • 1990 Union Cycliste Internationale
  • 1991: Awarded Life Membership with the Australian Professional Cycling Council
  • 1992 Oppy Medal
  • 1993 Medal of the Order of Australia
  • 1995: Awarded Life Membership with the Australian Cycling Federation
  • 1996 The June Long Foundation for Patient Safety Patron
  • 1999: Awarded Life Membership with the Victorian Veteran Cycling Council
  • 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Torchbearer
  • 2000 Australian Sports Medal
  • 2001 Victorian Cycling Hall of Fame
  • 2001 Victorian Cricket Association
  • 2003 Australian Veteran Cycling Council Patron
  • 2003: Awarded Life Membership with the Australian Veteran Cycling Council
  • 2004 Oppy Centenary


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