Considered one of the fastest men on the planet in his prime, John Treloar (AM) was involved in one of the closest 100 metre Olympic finishes ever run, when he contested the final at the Helsinki Games in 1952 after competing in the 1948 London Olympics. American Lindy Remigino was awarded the gold medal, but he was not the only one to run 10.4 seconds – there were three others – while fifth and sixth came in at 10.5 seconds. Although Treloar officially finished sixth, just 0.1 second separated him from the winner. The time remained his personal best for the distance. John became a triple gold medalist at the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland in the 100 yards, 220 yards and 4 x 110 yards relay.
Since then, Sydney University has continued to produce athletes who have enjoyed success at an international level. At the 1962 Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth, Betty Moore, then competing for Britain, broke a Commonwealth record and equaled the world record for the 80 metres hurdles. Betty collected two silver medals, from the hurdles and the 4 x 440 yards relay. In 1960 she would have been the first SUAC female athlete to compete in the Olympics, having been selected to represent Britain, but was unable to compete for citizenship reasons, leaving that honour to Cheryl Peasley (later Collins), who competed in the 4 x 400 metres relay at Munich in 1972.
Outstanding of the list of SUAC internationals is Gordon Windeyer, who won gold in the high jump at the 1974 Commonwealth Games. Other notables include Angela Cook (Commonwealth Games 1974, 1978), Rachel Thompson (World race Walking Championships 1983) and Paul Greene who finished 4th in the 400 metres at the 1994 Commonwealth Games and competed at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Paul is the eldest son of Pat Greene, former NSW long jump champion and highly regarded SUAC former president and current Patron and Deidre Green (nee Magee) who competed for the women’s club with distinction. More recent Olympic representatives have been Lachlan Renshaw in Beijing 2008 (800m) and Ed Fernon in London 2012 (Modern Pentathlon). In a famous finish, Renshaw won the 2011 World Universiade title. From 2014 on, the club saw huge international representation with 12 qualifying for the Commonwealth Games alongside 5 competing at the inaugural IAAF World Relays. 7 athletes gained Australian selections at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing where a host of club members supported them as part of an Aussie Aths fans tour. Michelle Jenneke, Ella Nelson, Brendon Reading, Milly Clark and Jenny Blundell all competed with distinction at the 2016 Rio Olympics along with former SUAC athlete Madeline Heiner.
In 2017 SUAC launched the Target Tokyo program aimed at achieving as many Tokyo 2020 representatives as possible. Immediate success was achieved with Nick Hough qualifying for the London 2017 World Championships along with 8 other athletes. At London World Para Athletics Championships wheelchair athlete Angie Ballard won yet more medals in a long and highly distinguished career incorporating multiple world records, world championships and a Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medal. 2018 Commonwealth Games marked the most successful representation of SUAC athletes ever in an Australian team. 13 athletes competed on the Gold Coast with Angie Ballard earning a Silver medal and both Nicola McDermott and Nick Hough, Target Tokyo alumni, winning Bronze. For the full 2017-18 year, 22 SUAC athletes represented Australia. Catriona Bisset & Josh Ralph won Australia’s best ever medal performance IAAF World Relays finishing 2nd to USA in the 2x2x400m in 2019. Bisset went on to win Summer Universiade 800m and break the Australian 800m record at the London Diamond League meet in an astounding 1:58.78 achieving an Olympic qualifier joining fellow Target Tokyo alumni Nicola McDermott in the high jump. In more Olympic success, Modern Pentathletes Ed Fernon and Marina Carrier were officially selected by the Australian Olympic Committee to compete in Tokyo with Dean Gleeson appointed Head Coach and Team Leader of the Australian team. The club’s Target Tokyo program paid off in July 2021 with the official selection of another 10 athletes – Rohan Browning, Nicola McDermott, Liz Clay, Alex Beck, Annie Rubie, Jenny Blundell, Mackenzie Little, Nick Hough, 6 time Paralympian Angie Ballard and club record holder Catriona Bisset. Undoubtedly the biggest highlight of Tokyo was Nicola McDermott’s silver medal winning performance closely followed by finals, semi finals and personal bests achieved by Mackenzie Little, Liz Clay and Rohan Browning. A massive thank you to our Target Tokyo supporters. 2022 saw the beginning of our next Olympic cycle and the initiation of our Target Paris program. The 2022 year was another a huge one for SUAC with 12 SUAC athletes selected for World Championships, Commonwealth Games and U20 World Championships and Commonwealth Games silver and bronze medals to Mackenzie Little and Angie Ballard. 2023 followed strongly with a club record 9 World Championships and 2 World Para Athletics Championship representatives supported by a huge SUAC contingent in Budapest. Two of Australia’s six medals in Australia’s best ever World Championships performance were from SUAC athletes Mackenzie Little and Nicola Olyslagers who then backed up to take SUACs first medals in a Diamond League final achieving Bronze and Silver respectively.