Jana Pittman

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Jana Pittman
Osaka07 D6A Jana Rawlinson celebrating.jpg
Personal information
Full name Jana Pittman-Rawlinson
Nationality  Australian
Born (1982-11-09) 9 November 1982 (age 31)
Sydney, Australia
Height 180 cm (5 ft 11 in) (2014)[1]
Weight 82 kg (181 lb) (2014)
Sport
Sport Running and Bobsleigh
Event(s) 400 metres, 400 metres hurdles, Bobsleigh

Jana Pittman-Rawlinson (born 9 November 1982) is an Australian athlete, who specialises in the 400 metres run and 400 metre hurdles events. She is a two-time world champion in the 400 m hurdles, from 2003 and 2007. She also won the gold medal in this event at the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games and was part of Australia's winning 4 × 400 metres relay teams at both events.

Pittman is one of only nine athletes (along with Valerie Adams, Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Jacques Freitag, Yelena Isinbayeva, Kirani James, Dani Samuels, and David Storl) to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletic event.

Pittman also competed in the two-woman bobsleigh at the 2014 Winter Olympics, making her the first Australian female athlete to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games.[3]

Early career[edit]

Pittman attended Matthew Pearce Primary School and Mount St Benedict College in North Western Sydney. She is second cousin to diver Melissa Wu.[4] She competed until April 2006 under her maiden name Pittman, then under her married name Rawlinson, and in 2009, following the breakdown of her marriage, as Pittman-Rawlinson.

Pittman won the 400 m hurdles at the 1999 World Youth Championships in Athletics in Bydgoszcz and became treble champion in 200 m, 400 m and 400 m hurdles at the national championships of that year. In 2000, she became the first woman ever to win the 400 m flat and hurdles double at any IAAF or IOC championships – in this case, the 2000 World Junior Championships in Santiago (Chile).

Knee injury[edit]

Just before the Athens Olympics, Pittman tore her cartilage in her right knee during a warm-up for a track meet in Zurich, where she had been favoured to win the 400 m hurdles event. After undergoing surgery in London only one week before the start of the games, she ran 5th in the final.[5]

Negative public image[edit]

On 10 March 2006, quoted in an article in The Sydney Morning Herald, Pittman announced her intention to leave Australia, possibly for the UK, after the negative publicity surrounding her knee and her disagreement with fellow athlete Tamsyn Lewis: "Since Athens, my image is all about drama and I hate it." Pittman said there had been a "mixed" response from the Australian public since the media dubbed their rivalry a "catfight" and a "bitchfight". She related that when she had been walking down the street a week earlier, a group of men in a car yelled out, "We love you, Tamsyn, we hate you, Pitts". "I didn't create that", the 400 m hurdler was quoted as saying. "I didn't want that". She also referenced the current edition of Ralph magazine at the time, in which Lewis posed in a bikini and which carried the tag line on the cover, "It's alright Tam, we don't like Jana Pittman either".

In the buildup to her races at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Pittman was widely reported as being nervous about the possible crowd reaction in the wake of the negative publicity. However, the ovation of the home crowd was loud and long, both before and after the 400 m hurdles Final, and in interviews afterwards Pittman expressed her feelings of relief. The crowd response was strikingly different at a nightclub hosting post-games celebrations, where after an introduction she was booed off the stage.[6]

2006 Commonwealth Games[edit]

At the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Jana Pittman successfully defended her two Commonwealth titles.

4×400 m Relay[edit]

As at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Pittman-Rawlinson was a member of Australia's gold medal-winning 4 x 400 m relay team (with Tamsyn Lewis, Caitlin Willis and Rosemary Hayward). However, the 2006 Aussie team was awarded the gold medal after the disqualification of the England team for a baton-change violation.[7] Pittman later wrote a letter of apology to the English team and offered her gold medal to them. She blamed the disqualification on Lewis who, alongside Pittman, went up to the officials after the race to point out the violation of Englishwoman Natasha Danvers-Smith of taking an incorrect position on the starting leg.[8] According to the ABC Sports Desk[9] the officials were moving to disqualify England anyway. England head coach, Brad McStravick, in an interview with the ABC TV program Offsiders, questioned Pittman's motivation for writing the letter: "I know she is going to spend, well, at least half the year in England and I think some of the girls wondered whether it was just to try and make peace, so that she wouldn't face any animosity once she was living and training in England," he said.[10]

400 m Hurdles[edit]

Pittman won the 400 m hurdles title with a new Games record time of 53.82 seconds. This was her first major championship in the event since her 2004 knee injury and subsequent stress fractures in her back.

Osaka 2007[edit]

After delivering Cornelis, Pittman had her wisdom teeth removed and a 10-week injury break with plantar fasciitis. Despite these difficulties, she ran well on the European circuit and comfortably won the 400 m Hurdles at the Osaka World Championships.

She carried a slight injury through her 2007 season, having surgery later in the year to remove loose cartilage and floating bone fragments in the second toe of her right foot.

Pittman was pre-selected for the 2008 Australian Olympic team in late 2007.

Beijing 2008[edit]

In January 2008, Pittman was nominated for 'Comeback of the Year' at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

In February 2008, Pittman was quoted as saying she could visualise her win at the Beijing Olympics and that she would run a world record time. But on 9 July 2008, Pittman announced she would not be competing at the Beijing Games, because of the complications with the toe injury.[11] The Australian subsequently reported that a large number of Australians had "viciously turned against the fallen track star", strongly criticising her.[12]

Injury problems[edit]

On 29 June 2009, Pittman returned to racing after more than a year with a victory in the Grand Prix event at Malaga, Spain. She won the 400 metre hurdles in a time of 55.67 seconds ahead of Ukrainian Anastasiya Rabchenyuk and Janet Wienand of South Africa.[13] However, she was not fit enough to defend her title at the 2009 World Championships. A hamstring problem caused by bulging disc in her back interrupted her preparation for the tournament, but she was confident of a return, saying "I hope I can recover from this latest setback and get back on track for my long term goal and dream – winning Olympic Gold in London in 2012".[14]

Another 20 months passed before her return to competition. In April 2011, she beat domestic rival Lauren Boden on the final leg of the Australian Athletics Tour.[15]

Pittman suffered a foot injury in March 2012 which put her out of contention for the London Olympics, and resulted in her deciding to retire from athletics. After trying rowing and boxing, she elected to try her hand at bobsledding, acting as brakewoman to Australian pilot Astrid Radjenovic with a view to competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics.[16] In her first race Radjenovic and Pittman scored Australia's best ever World Cup finish with a seventh place at Altenberg in January 2013.[17]

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics[edit]

In 2014 Pittman competed in the two-person bobsleigh event at the Sochi Winter Olympics. In doing so she became the first female (and second overall after Paul Narracott) to represent Australia in both the summer and winter olympics. The team of Pittman (brakeman) and Astrid Radjenovic (pilot) finished in 14th position.[18]

Personal life[edit]

In May 2009 it was revealed that Pittman had undergone breast implant surgery after the birth of her son.[19] The following year she announced she'd had the implants removed as they had "affected her running", but would consider having her breasts augmented again once her athletic career was over.[20]

Marriage to Chris Rawlinson[edit]

On 31 March 2006, Pittman married English athlete Chris Rawlinson at Morningstar Estate on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. Rawlinson, also a specialist 400 m hurdler, coached Jana from 2004–2009. On 14 December 2006 she gave birth to the couple's first child, son Cornelis Levi. She later stated that she had gone for a hard twenty-minute run on the morning of the birth and "felt like a whale".

In April 2009 it was announced that Pittman and Rawlinson had separated after three years of marriage and in May 2009 she returned to training under Craig Hilliard who had previously coached her.[21] In an interview on 24 October 2009 her new role as a single mother was described as "Jana's toughest hurdle".[22]

In January 2010 it was announced that Pittman had been reconciled with Rawlinson and that they would remarry.[20] On 31 March 2010, Pittman remarried Rawlinson in England, wearing an unconventional red wedding dress.[23] However, on 16 April 2011 it was announced that Pittman and Rawlinson had split again.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jana Pittman". sochi2014.olympics.com.au. Australian Olympic Committee. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Jana Pittman is happier, meatier and cooler in a bobsled". news.com.au. 8 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Webster, Andrew (1 February 2014). "Jana Pittman and Astrid Radjenovic happy to trade track for ice on bobsleigh team". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  4. ^ ABC Beijing 2008 preview – Diving
  5. ^ Jana Pittman plans Olympic comeback after knee surgery AM – ABC Local Radio, 9 August 2004
  6. ^ Ritchie, Kerri (27 March 2006). "Games end with report of drink spiking at athletes' club". abc.net.au. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Relay upset hands Aussies gold Melbourne 2006
  8. ^ Pittman spat: English want all four golds Sydney Morning Herald, 3 April 2006
  9. ^ ABC Sport[dead link]
  10. ^ AdelaideNow[dead link]
  11. ^ "Athletics Australia rallies behind Rawlinson", The Age, 10 July 2008
  12. ^ "Australia turns on Jana Rawlinson as she pulls out of Olympics", The Australian, 11 July 2008
  13. ^ "Rawlinson comeback s success", The Australian, 29 June 2009
  14. ^ Pittman-Rawlinson out of Worlds. BBC Sport (26 July 2009). Retrieved on 9 August 2009.
  15. ^ Johnson, Len (2011-04-01). Perth marks Pittman-Rawlinson's return as Pearson scores impressive treble. IAAF. Retrieved on 2 April 2011.
  16. ^ Kogoy, Peter (6 December 2012). "Jana Pittman's cool run at making another Olympics". The Australian. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  17. ^ AAP (7 January 2013). "Jana Pittman pushes Australia to best ever finish in World Cup bobsleigh". smh.com.au. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Sochi Winter Olympics: Jana Pittman wants to take on bobsleigh again, may return to track in Rio". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  19. ^ Jana's 'secret' boob job exposed Sunday Telegraph (Australia), 31 May 2009
  20. ^ a b "Jana Rawlinson sacrifices breast implants for Olympics". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 5 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  21. ^ "Rawlinson's clear path to world titles", The Australian, 28 May 2009
  22. ^ "Jana Pittman's Toughest Hurdle", Herald Sun, 24 October 2009
  23. ^ Fydler, Rose (12 April 2010). "Jana and Chris renew their vows: "I do...again!"". Woman's Day. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  24. ^ Gullan, Scott (16 April 2011). "Jana Pittman on track for second divorce from Chris Rawlinson". heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 

External links[edit]