Tien jaar geleden was er droevig nieuws uit Australië. Mijn FB-vriend Barry Langley meldde mij dat Olympisch kampioen en viervoudig wereldkampioen Steve Wooldridge was overleden (op bovenstaande foto de man met de Australische vlag). “His body was found this morning. No further details available at the moment.” (*) Hij bezorgde me ook een in memoriam door Phill Bates, AM President St George Cycling Club and a friend.
In your lifetime you give support, encouragement and the opportunity for young cyclists to reach their goal. In our sport of cycling, you see some conquer with lesser effort than others. Then you witness those that continue to work harder and reach even greater heights.
Steve Wooldridge, started racing with St George as a youngster and continued to improve, especially under the guidance of NSW coach Gary Sutton. Steve despite losing his mum Jan to cancer in 2002, went on to win Commonwealth gold medal and the first of four World titles in the teams pursuit. In amongst the four world titles was the gold medal at the Athens Olympic Games. More medals followed but he finished his career at the time, as our most successful teams pursuiter of all time.
Tragically today he gave his life away leaving behind a son and daughter, family and friends just short of his 40th birthday. Steve achieved many cycling accolades, NSW Hall of fame but also a degree in Engineering and was playing a pivotal role at UNSW. His infectious smile, gentleman attitude on and off the bike made him a very special person. We are better for knowing him and worse off for losing him.
(*) Later zal blijken dat het zelfmoord was. Bij ons was Wooldridge minder gekend omdat hij in tegenstelling tot vele van zijn teammates (Matthew Goss, Mark Renshaw, Luke Roberts…) geen wegcarrière heeft gemaakt in Europa. Zijn palmares spreekt echter voor zich…