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Marjorie Jackson Nelson acknowledged by IOC

24 August 2008

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President Mr John Coates is delighted to announce that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has bestowed the Olympic Order upon Marjorie Jackson Nelson.

The announcement has been made at the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing.

“A great Australian has been recognised in a most tangible way by the Olympic family and I am thrilled for Marjorie,” Mr Coates said.

“Her unpretentious style and generous spirit have earned respect throughout her life.

“Marjorie is regarded with deep affection across the country and her dedication to and belief in Olympism is reflected in her day to day life,” Mr Coates said.

Marjorie Jackson was born on Coffs Harbour, NSW on 13 September 1931 and was raised in Lithgow.

Dubbed the “Lithgow Flash”, Marjorie won two Olympic Gold medals (Helsinki 1952) and seven British Empire (Commonwealth) Games gold medals (4 in Auckland 1950 and 3 in Vancouver 1954).

Between 1950 and 1954 she won every NSW and Australian title for the 100 yds, 100 metres, 220 yards and 200 metre sprints. She has the distinguished honour of being the first Australian woman to break a world record and win an Olympic gold medal in Athletics and was the first Australian to win an Olympic gold medal on the track since Edwin Flack in 1896.

It was at the Helsinki Games that Marjorie met the man she would later marry, cyclist Peter Nelson.

After settling in Adelaide the couple opened a small business. Tragically, Peter passed away in 1977 as a result of leukaemia after which Marjorie launched the Peter Nelson Foundation. To date more than $4 million dollars has been raised to help fight the disease.

In 1978, the Australian Olympic Federation bestowed its own Order of Merit on Marjorie. In 1985 she was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations as one of the most outstanding athletes of that organisations 75 year history.

In 1998 Marjorie strengthened her links to the Olympic movement when she was appointed to the board of the organising committee (SOCOG), a position she held until its dissolution.

Marjorie was one of eight great Australian Olympians chosen to carry the Olympic Flag in the stadium at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Games.

In 2001 Marjorie Jackson Nelson was appointed Governor of South Australia. During her term as Governor, Marjorie became known as a friend of the people of that State who would give willingly of her time and engage with those from all walks of life.

“I am completely stunned by this honour,” Mrs Jackson-Nelson said.

“The Olympic Movement has been such a special part of my life.

“I feel like I should be the one thanking them, not the other way around.

“Everything I have done in my life I have done because I love it and I have a genuine love for the Olympic Movement and what the Olympic Games represents across the world.

“I have received many great accolades over the years but I can tell you to be recognised like this is something incredibly humbling,” Mrs Jackson – Nelson said.

AOC

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