Five NSW sports greats will be inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions at the prestigious NSW Champions of Sport Ceremony at Rosehill Gardens on Tuesday, November 27.
Julie Dolan, AM
A Matildas team member for 14 years, with 18 internationals, Julie is a pioneer of women's football in Australia. Competing in the earliest national and international competitions, Julie dominated the game in this era.
By age 13, Julie was playing elite-level soccer with clubs such as St George Budapest and the Marconi Stallions. Despite limited opportunities for women, Julie competed in the first Women’s Asian Championship in Hong Kong in 1975. At age 16, she became Australia’s inaugural captain, and in 1978 played in the first Women’s World Invitational in Chinese Taipei. Julie was captain of Australia in the first official international match against New Zealand in 1979.
Julie competed in the first Oceania Cup in 1983, and the pilot FIFA World Cup in China in 1988. Her proudest moment was playing in the Australian team that defeated Brazil 1-0 in their first encounter at this competition.
Playing 34 matches for Australia between 1979 and 1988, Julie was a strategic captain and a strong central midfielder. Her attacking nature saw her score four international goals.
In 1988, the Australian Women's Soccer Association created the Julie Dolan Medal for the Best Female Footballer of the Year. She was named International Federation of Football History and Statistics Oceania Player of the Century. In 1999, Julie was inducted into the Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame and received the Queen Elizabeth II Australian Sports Medal. She was named team captain in Football Federation Australia’s 1979-89 Team of the Decade.
In 2016, football named its prestigious awards event the Dolan Warren Awards with Julie honoured alongside national icon Johnny Warren.
A true pioneer, Julie Dolan was presented with Cap Number 1 for the Matildas. As administrator, player and coach Julie has been a major force behind the growth of women’s football in Australia.
Two World Championships and four Commonwealth Games gold medals have placed hurdler and 400m specialist Jana Pittman in the top echelon of Australian athletics history. Earning an IAAF Rising Star award early in her career, Jana is one of a select group of athletes to have won World Championships at Youth, Junior and Senior levels.
Jana’s two gold medals at the 2000 Santiago World Junior Championships saw her become the first woman ever to win the 400m and 400m hurdles double at any IAAF or IOC championships.
Excelling in the 400m hurdles, Jana’s first senior World Championship gold medal was in Paris in 2003. She won gold again in the same event in 2007 in Osaka, just eight months after the birth of her son.
Jana competed at two summer Olympic Games – Sydney, 2000, at the age of 17 and Athens in 2004. Injuries before the 2008 Olympic Games prevented her from seeking selection. At the 2002 Manchester and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Jana won four gold medals in the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay.
Her personal best in the 400m hurdles of 53.22 seconds, set in 2003 is still the NSW State record and is second only on the Australian all-time rankings to Debbie Flintoff-King. Jana also still holds NSW records in the Under-20 and Under-18 400m hurdles.
In 2014, Jana became the first ever Australian female athlete to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games when she was a member of the Australian two-woman bobsleigh team at the Sochi Winter Games.
Jana’s resilience and determination in the face of challenges has seen her recognised as one of Australia’s greatest female athletes.