Clarke elevated to Legend status in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame

Ron Clarke AO MBE has been elevated to Legend status in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame

Four-time Commonwealth Games medallist and one of the world’s greatest distance runners, Ron Clarke AO MBE has been elevated to Legend status in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. 

Clarke, one of the 120 inaugural athlete Members to be officially inducted in 1985, etched his name into Australian sporting history with his record-breaking achievements, fierce determination and grace and humility on and off the track. 

In a remarkable career, 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. 

He competed in the Perth 1962, Kingston 1966 and Edinburgh 1970 Commonwealth Games, winning four silver medals.  

He also represented Australia in the Tokyo 1964 and Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games, where, in Tokyo, he was ninth in the 5000m, won bronze in the 10,000m and was eighth in the marathon, while in Mexico City, he finished sixth in the 10,000m and fifth in the 5000m. 

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, chosen by Melbourne Olympic officials to light the cauldron at the 1956 Games. 

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. 



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. 

In honour of Clarke’s incredible career, Griffith University, supported by Commonwealth Games Australia, established the Ron Clarke Brighter Futures Scholarship, to support an Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples student, who is an elite athlete competing in a Commonwealth Games sport. 

As Gold Coast mayor from 2004 to 2012, he was also key to Australia being awarded the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. 

The annual elevation of Sport Australia Hall of Fame Members (SAHoF) 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. 

Clarke is joined by cricket great Shane Warne AO, who was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2009 as an athlete Member. 

“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.” 

SAHoF must be retired for 15 years before being considered for elevation to Legend status. The annual elevation of Legend/s is voted by the SAHoF 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. 



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