ACT News

Triathlon community mourns death of Jackie Fairweather

Canberra's sporting community is in mourning over the death of elite triathlete and marathon runner Jackie Fairweather.

Social media was awash with tributes to the Canberra-based Australian Sports Commission performance manager on Monday night.

Australia's Krishna Stanton, Kerryn McCann and Jackie Gallagher hold their medals after winning gold, silver and bronze ...
Australia's Krishna Stanton, Kerryn McCann and Jackie Gallagher hold their medals after winning gold, silver and bronze in the Women's Marathon Final in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Photo: Reuters

Fairweather (nee Gallagher) was a former world champion and Commonwealth Games medallist. She had been married to Australian Olympic archery champion Simon Fairweather since in 2004. 

News of her death has rocked Australia's triathlon community. Numerous tributes were posted on social media from Monday night in which she was described as an Australian sporting legend and a loving person and remembered for her strong contribution to the triathlon community.

Triathlon website Trizone paid tribute on its website on Monday.

"We share the grief being felt by so many in the triathlon community who were touched by Jackie," the tribute said.

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"She was always so friendly and approachable."

Ironman distance champion, Belinda Granger, said on Twitter "tonight I will have a glass of red and toast an absolute legend of our sport and bloody top chick".

Canberra Times Fun Run 10km female winners Jackie Fairweather (2nd) Fleur Flanery (1st) and Kim Wilmshurst (3rd).
Canberra Times Fun Run 10km female winners Jackie Fairweather (2nd) Fleur Flanery (1st) and Kim Wilmshurst (3rd). Photo: Rohan Thomson

Other sports people are remembering her as their inspiration:

Fairweather was born on November 10, 1967 and started competing in the early 1990s.

She won the elite Australian National Series in her first season in 1992. 

In 1996 she won the Triathlon World Championships in Cleveland and the Duathlon World Championships in Ferrara, becoming the only athlete to win both titles in the same year.

Fairweather won the Duathlon World Championships again in 1999 in Huntersville and narrowly missed out on triathlon gold the same year, coming second to Loretta Harrop in Montreal.

She collected a further two World Championship silver medals in 1995 and 1997.

The long-distance runner later won bronze in the 2002 Commonwealth Games marathon before winning the Gold Coast marathon in 2005. 

Fairweather was the founding head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport's triathlon program from it's inception in 2001 to 2005, where she was integral to the development and success of many of Australia's triathletes. 

Fairweather joined the Australian Sports Commission's Innovation and Best Practice program in 2005, where she delivered specialist advice to help boost the performance of elite athletes and teams.

She continued working at the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) until her death, most recently as performance manager.

The commission, along with the Australian Institute of Sport have released a statement, saying staff are "deeply saddened" by her "sudden passing".

ASC Chief Executive Simon Hollingsworth said Fairweather was a "world class" athlete, and "richly gifted" coach and sports administrator. "Jackie will be sorely missed by the many people whose lives are better for knowing her," Mr Hollingsworth said.

Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 131 114; Mensline 1300 789 978; Beyondblue 1300 224 636.