Bill's Speeches

THE PASSING OF RON CLARKE

Labor honours the life of a great Australian and we offer our sympathies to Ron Clarke’s family, friends and loved ones.

 

For nearly seven years Ron Clarke held every world record from two miles to twenty kilometres.

 

In December 1963, he broke two world records in one race: the six mile and the 10,000 m .

 

And in an astonishing two-month stretch in 1965, Clarke broke 11 world records in 16 races.

 

Over many years, and thousands more miles, Ron Clarke’s tenacity, determination and character were tested – but never conquered.

 

The child of a famous sporting family and a junior prodigy who became a national champion, Clarke represented Australia at two Olympics and three Commonwealth games.

 

He won an Olympic bronze in the 10,000m at Tokyo and three Commonwealth silvers.

 

At the age of only 19, he was chosen to carry the Olympic Torch into the MCG for the opening of the 1956 Olympics.

 

Many reflecting on his passing today will remember him as he was then, a young man, bearing the hopes of a nation on display before the world.

 

We will remember him too as one half of the greatest act of sportsmanship in the 20th Century.

 

A moment immortalised in bronze outside Melbourne’s Olympic park and revered by everyone who believes it is how you play the game that counts.

 

In later life, Ron would serve his community for two terms as Mayor of the Gold Coast and played a significant role in securing the upcoming Commonwealth games for the Gold Coast.

 

Ron Clarke filled every unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run.

 

We salute his life and offer our heartfelt condolences to his family.

 

May he rest in peace.

 

WEDNESDAY, 17 JUNE 2015

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053