An Australian multi-sport athlete whose best events – including hockey – were not included in the Games when she was at her peak has been honoured by the International Olympic Committee.
Daphne Pirie, one of Queensland’s finest sportswomen, has been honoured for a stellar career in track and field, hockey and golf and as a sporting administrator. She has been awarded the 2011 IOC Women and Sport trophy for Oceania.
The 79-year-old from the Gold Coast will be presented with the award by the IOC President Jacques Rogge and Ms Anita DeFrantz, IOC member and Chairperson of the IOC Women and Sport Commission at a ceremony in Switzerland on 23 June – International Olympic Day.
“Not being an Olympian this is an incredible honour,” Pirie said. “I will proudly accept the trophy on behalf of the Australian Olympic Committee and all Australian sportswomen.”
Daphne’s career as an athlete spanned 30 years. She was a nationally ranked track and field athlete in the 1950’s winning the 100, 440 and 880 yards at the Queensland Championships in 1951 and 1952. She was also the Queensland women’s high jump champion in 1949.
She was a finalist at the 1950 Australian championships in the 220 yards, long jump, high jump, and 880 yards. She finished second her chosen events, the 880 yards and 440 yards at the 1954
Unfortunately they were not added to the Olympic program until 1960 (800m) and 1964 (400m) denying her a chance to compete at the Games for Australia.
Daphne also represented Australia in hockey in 1955 after she and others re-formed the Valley Women’s Hockey Club in Brisbane. The club had disbanded during the Second World War and after only two years of playing hockey Daphne made the state team.
“I really enjoyed the team game and was happy to switch between the two, playing hockey in the winter and running in the summer,” she said.
Like her pet running events, women’s hockey was not added to the Olympic program until Moscow 1980, long after her international career had ended.
When her elite career ended Daphne was not content to be just a spectator and started a long and distinguished career as a sports administrator.
She was elected to the Queensland Olympic Council in 1993, becoming its first female vice?president
in 1997. She was founding president of Womensport Queensland and is a director of Gold Coast Events Management. She has been a Board member of the QLD Academy of Sport, President of the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame and a life member of Hockey Australia.
“Daphne has been a role model to women in sport both in Australia and overseas and the award from the IOC is thoroughly deserved,” said AOC Secretary?General Craig Phillips.
“Daphne has dedicated the majority of her life to supporting women and girls in physical and sports activities. She has done a tremendous job of raising the profile of women in sport at both the grass roots and elite levels,” Phillips said.
Along the way she won the QLD Country Golf Championship in 1972 and qualified for the Australian Championships the same year.
She also won eight gold medals and set records in the World Veteran Track and Field Championships from 1981? 1998.
“Sport has been my life,” Pirie said. “My great satisfaction is the acknowledgment of the outstanding achievements of women on the world sporting stage today.”