The Australian Sports Commission has paid tribute to former AIS scholarship holder and world champion cyclist Stephen Wooldridge OAM.
ASC CEO Kate Palmer said: “The ASC and AIS extend our thoughts to Stephen’s family and friends. Stephen was a former AIS scholarship holder who achieved remarkable things at Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and World Championships, mentored young athletes and made a valuable contribution to the cycling community.”
Cycling Australia yesterday issued a statement saying the entire cycling community is deeply saddened to hear of Steve’s death. He was an Olympic gold medallist (Athens 2004), world champion and former Cycling Australia Board member.
Steve will be remembered as one of the sport’s most successful ever team pursuit racers. Along with team mates Graeme Brown, Brett Lancaster, Bradley McGee, Luke Roberts and Peter Dawson, Wooldridge was part of the team that won the 4000m team pursuit in Athens, defeating Great Britain by over 3.5 seconds. The team broke a drought in the event, taking Australia’s first gold medal since Los Angeles 1984.
From 2002 – 2006, Steve was unstoppable. Along with his Olympic gold medal, he achieved four team pursuit world titles during that time at the 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006 UCI Track World Championships. Steve was also a member of the pursuit team which took gold at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.
Off the track, Steve was a huge contributor to the sport. According to Phill Bates, President of the St George Cycling Club which welcomed Steve as a 12 year old, and where he started his racing career, there was no better club man.
“Despite all his international success he rarely missed club functions and presentations, and always made himself available for a range of roles that helped promote the sport,” Bates said.
“He was everyone’s brother; an infectious character who always gave back to cycling, and I think of him as one as one of the great champions of St George Cycling Club.”
After finishing his track career, Steve rode for southaustralia.com-AIS – Australia’s U23 road outfit at the time, where he was a leader and role model for other young riders
At a national level, he held the role of Chair of the Athletes Commission and sat on the Cycling Australia Board from 2007 – 2013, where he made important contributions that helped develop the sport. He was inducted into the NSW Sport Hall of Fame in 2015.
Cycling Australia CEO Nick Green said today that the cycling community will be mourning the loss of such an inspirational figure.
“Our thoughts are with Stephen’s family and friends during this very difficult time. Steve will be remembered by so many for not only his success in competition, but also for the contributions he made across so many roles in the sport.”
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