TAK­ING ONE FOR THE TEAM

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE - WITH AN­DREW POTTS Email: an­drew.potts@news.com.au

Gold Coast cy­clist Louise Nolan sac­ri­ficed her own medal chances to set up Kathy Watt’s road race gold in 1994

WHEN the sun rises over the Gold Coast on Mon­day morn­ing the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games will be his­tory.

There have been plenty of mem­o­rable and amaz­ing mo­ments and a legacy left be­hind which will hold the city in good stead for decades to come.

Our ath­letes put them­selves to the test and came away with an in­cred­i­ble haul of medals.

It is an ef­fort to be proud of and one which matches some of the best per­for­mances of Aus­tralia’s ath­letes at pre­vi­ous Games.

Back in 1994 the Aus­tralian team put on an in­cred­i­ble show­ing at that year’s Com­mon­wealth Games in Vic­to­ria, Canada.

Af­ter win­ning 52 gold medals in Auck­land in 1990, the team ar­rived and was aim­ing to equal or sur­pass the record, with hopes of scor­ing 10 on the first day, both in the pool and on the velo­drome.

The big star of day one was Syd­ney stu­dent Matthew Dunn who won two gold medals on day one, along­side a dom­i­nant Kieren Perkins, Susie O’Neill and Sa­man­tha Reilly.

They were fol­lowed shortly af­ter by Gold Coast­ers An­drew Bail­don and Chris Fy­dler who con­tested the 100m freestyle while Brad Lam­bert, the baby of the team, swam in the 200m back­stroke.

Lo­cal cy­clists Cathy Rear­don and Louise Nolan went for their sec­ond cy­cling gold medal in the women’s road race.

But in a dev­as­tat­ing turn of events, Nolan was asked to sac­ri­fice her own hopes of a medal in a bid to en­sure one of her own team­mates se­cured gold.

It was the 96km in­di­vid­ual road race and Nolan, then 23, drew the short straw, in­structed by coach An­drew Lo­gan to scar­i­fie her own chances by mak­ing sure the race strate­gies were made to or­der for team­mate Kathy Watt.

Nolan’s or­ders were to force the pace from the mo­ment the starter’s gun set the field of 22 off on the nine gru­elling laps of the test­ing Mt Molmie cir­cuit around the Univer­sity of Vic­to­ria.

She was ac­com­pa­nied by Cana­dian Les­ley Tom­lin­son in a break­away that lasted for two thirds of the race, mak­ing life as un­com­fort­able as pos­si­ble for the main bunch while Watt pa­tiently bided her time.

The plot played out to per­fec­tion, with the bleach-blonde Vic­to­rian swoop­ing on the two tir­ing kamikaze pi­lots with two laps to go. The win con­firmed her sta­tus as the best rider in the world and a sec­ond gold medal in the event af­ter her Auck­land gold four years ear­lier.

Nolan and Tom­lin­son re­mained in con­tention for mi­nor medals but faded to place sev­enth and eight re­spec­tively.

Rear­don went on to fin­ish fifth.

Watt paid trib­ute to the Gold Coaster in her post-race speech.

“It was a fan­tas­tic ef­fort by Louise,” she said.

“She al­lowed me to sit back in the field and at­tack later. It worked out per­fectly.”

Beam­ing and de­tail­ing as if she had won her­self, Nolan said: “It made for hard day but it was worth it. Our plan paid off and Kathy won gold. The best bike rider won and that’s im­por­tant.

“But I feel part of the gold medal too.”

Nolan later won a gold medal at the Games in the road team time trial.

Louise Nolan (far right) set up Kathy Watt’s road race gold and then shared gold with team­mates (from left) Rachel Vic­tor, Cathy Rear­don and Watt in the team time trial.

Chris Fy­dler claimed two re­lay golds and a 100m freestyle sil­ver.

Kieren Perkins won four gold medals in Vic­to­ria.

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