Herb Elliott Honoured
27 November 2007
One of Australia’s greatest sportsmen, Herb Elliott, has won a World Fair Play award almost fifty years after he became an Olympic champion.
The International Committee for Fair Play (CIFP) based in Hungary has awarded Elliott its top honour, the Jean Borotra World Fair Play Trophy.
Jean Borotra is the founder of the organisation.
Regarded as the greatest “miler” of all time Elliott smashed his own world record in winning gold in the 1500 metres at the 1960 Rome Olympics.
Speaking from his home in northern New South Wales he said he was surprised and honoured at receiving recognition so long after his retirement from competitive running.
“Sport teaches young people strong lessons, discipline, respect for rules and teamwork. None of this works if participants aren’t fair in their dealings with competitors and their sport. So no matter how long ago I performed I feel very honoured to receive this recognition,” Elliott said.
During his career Elliott was unbeaten in world class events over the mile and 1500 metres winning a staggering 44 consecutive races. His winning time in Rome was good enough to take the gold medal in Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996.
He continued to be a high achiever in business running sportswear giant Puma Australia and later Puma North America.
Prior to the Sydney 2000 Games he accepted the role of Director, Athlete and Corporate Relations with the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).
During this time he developed a program called ‘Winning Attitudes’ designed to help young athletes prepare for sport and life.
As a legacy of Elliott’s initiative the AOC continues to conduct “Winning Attitude” seminars with athletes vying for selection on the 2008 Australian Olympic Team in Beijing.
In nominating Elliott for the Fair Play award, AOC Secretary-General, Craig Phillips wrote “ Herb’s mentorship of young athletes has been exemplary. He has steadfastly promoted a commitment to excellence- both in sport and in life”.
In 2002, he was awarded the Companion of the order of Australia (AC) for service to community leadership through the development of sport in Australia.
He has also been honoured by the IOC as a recipient of the Olympic Order. Elliott also features in the '50 Of Our Finest' recognition by the AOC.