Tamsyn Manou

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Tamsyn Manou
20080308 Tamsyn Lewis.jpg
Medal record
Women's athletics
Competitor for  Australia
World Indoor Championships
Gold Valencia 2008 800 metres
Silver Maebashi 1999 4x400 m relay
Commonwealth Games
Gold Kuala Lumpur 1998 4x400 m relay
Gold Manchester 2002 4x400 m relay
Gold Melbourne 2006 4x400 m relay
World Junior Championships
Bronze Sydney 1996 4x400 m relay

Tamsyn Carolyn Manou (née Lewis, born 20 July 1978) is an Australian athlete and middle-distance runner, who has won a total of seventeen Australian Championships at 400 metres, 800 metres and 400m hurdles.[1]

An Australian international representative since 1994, Manou won the World Indoor Championship at 800 metres[2] in March 2008.

Personal life[edit]

Tamsyn Manou was born and raised in Melbourne, Victoria and attended Methodist Ladies' College and Caulfield Grammar School.[3]

Her mother Carolyn Wright was a six time national high jump champion, while her father, Greg Lewis, was a semi finalist in the 200 metres at the Mexico City Olympic Games.

Through her career Mrs Manou has been assisted by a number of well-known athletics coaches, including Peter Fortune (Cathy Freeman's coach), Sebastian Coe and Daley Thompson. She married Australian cricketer Graham Manou in May 2011 [2][4] and now competes under her married name.[5]

Athletics career[edit]

Manou burst onto the national athletics scene in 1994, winning several events at the Australian Championships: the Under-16 100 m/200 m double and the Under-20 400 m. After these performances she was chosen, aged just 15, for the 1994 Commonwealth Games as a 4 x 400 metres relay runner, though she did not eventually compete in the event.[6]

Her next international selection was for the 1996 World Junior Championships in Sydney, where she won a bronze medal as part of the Australian 4 x 400 metres relay team.

In 1998, Manou moved up to the 800 metres distance, winning the National Championship and gaining a place in the 1998 Commonwealth Games team. Though she did not win a medal in the 800 m, she contributed to Australia's gold medal winning 4 x 400 m relay team.[6]

She next ran internationally in the 800 metres and 4 x 400 metres relay at the 1999 World Indoor Championships in Maebashi. Here she set an Australian indoor record of 2–02.42 in her individual event and again won a medal as part of Australia's 4 x 400 metres relay team.

Leading into the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Manou enjoyed her best form, setting new personal best times for 400 and 800 metres in qualifying for the Australian team. At the Games, she was unlucky to miss out on making the Olympic final in the 800 metres, failing by less than one tenth of a second, but ran in Australia's 4 x 400 metres relay team which set two national records.

In the years after Sydney, Manou could not improve her personal best performances and gained a reputation as an underachiever[7] in international competitions. Manou gave away the 800 m in 2005 to focus on the one-lap event and develop her speed. She competed at the 2006 Commonwealth Games only in the 400 m, where she missed making the final, and in the 4 x 400 metres relay event, where she won her third successive gold medal amidst a major controversy, as part of the victorious Australian quartet.[6]

In 2007 Tamsyn made a return to the 800 m distance under new coach, and brother, Justin Lewis, winning the 800 m national championships, placing in several European Meetings and qualifying for the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Athletics. In Osaka she finished fourth in her heat in 2.01.21 and was again unable to make the final.[6]

Manou enjoyed a return to her very best form in early 2008, remaining undefeated over 400 m and 800 metres in Australia.[8] She ran a personal best time of 51.44 to win the national 400 metres titles and comfortably retained her 800 metres crown.[8] These performances earned Tamsyn selection in a third consecutive Australian Olympic team.[2]

At the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Championships, held in Valencia, Spain, Manou qualified for the final running an Australian record of 2–01.85 in her heat. In a tactical final, Manou broke away from perennial champion Maria de Lurdes Mutola and Ukrainian Tetiana Petlyuk to win the gold medal in a major upset.[9] Manou was shocked herself saying: "I was wondering what I was doing out there. Then I realised that I could win the race. This is amazing. I still can't believe it."[9]

Manou represented Australia at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.[2] Here she made the semi final of the 800 m and narrowly missed qualifying for the semi final of the 400 m.

At the Australian National Championships in Brisbane 2009 Manou won both the 400 m and the 400 m Hurdles. This took her career tally to 15 National Titles.[10]

Relay teams[edit]

Tamsyn has won a number of international medals in the 4 x 400 m relay:[6]

Manou is also a three-time gold medal winner in the Commonwealth Games 4 x 400 m relay event.

  • At Manchester 2002, Manou ran the third leg in a team which featured Olympic 400 m champion Cathy Freeman, Lauren Hewitt and, anchoring, 400 m hurdles champion Jana Pittman. Australia's win was largely due to Tamsyn's run – having taken the baton from Hewitt in second place, she was able to give Pittman a lead at the last change – and the time was a Games record 3–25.63s.
  • At Melbourne 2006, Manou and her teammates Pittman, Caitlin Willis and Rosemary Hayward were second across the line being beaten by England; again Manou had run the third leg. After consultation with her fellow runners, both Manou and Pittman informed officials of a rule breach by England's Natasha Danvers (IAAF Rule 170 – Item 9), which the officials had already noted. England was subsequently disqualified and Australia awarded the gold medal; the time 3–28.66s. Afterwards, Australian track legend Ron Clarke called on the Australian team to return their gold medal.[11]

Media career[edit]

Tamsyn commenced a media career with Melbourne radio station Triple M, as part of the 'Dead Set Legends' crew, in 2005.[12]

In 2006, she appeared on the popular Australian television series Dancing with the Stars. Partnered by Arsen Kishishian, Manou finished third.[13]

With Jules Lund and Ryan Shelton, Manou presented the Summer Fling breakfast show across the Austereo Today Network,[14] from December 2007.

Controversies[edit]

In 2004, Manou posed in bikinis for Ralph magazine, prompting criticism from the media for losing focus on her preparation for the Athens Olympics. Also, Tamsyn was voted the 'sexiest babe in Melbourne' award on local radio station Nova 100. When Tamsyn failed to progress past the heats of her individual event, the 800 metres, both Manou and her coaches defended the photoshoot saying it was undertaken in five hours on one day and was not to blame for her result.[15]

In February 2006, Manou and fellow Australian runner Jana Pittman were involved in a very public feud[16] after the Australian athletics trials for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Pittman, in answer to a media question following her heat win, had stated she had "no competition" in Australia; Manou responded "I was standing behind the blocks [for the final] going, 'I'll give you no competition, bitch.'" in a radio interview after she won the final with Pittman finishing last. The media later described their relationship as a "catfight" and a "bitchfight."[17]

In the 29 May 2006 edition of Australian "Zoo Weekly" magazine, Manou again posed in what Nova 100 afternoon DJ's described as "incredibly racy" lingerie. In the accompanying article, Manou went into detail about her relationship with Jana Pittman and the furore caused over comments by Pittman that the team should all return their medals.

In the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics she stated she would be running against drug cheats; "I have no doubts that when I line up next week, I will look left and right and know the other girls aren't all clean”.[18]

Statistics[edit]

Personal Bests[edit]

  • as at 10 March 2008
Event Time Place Date
400 m 51.42 Brisbane, Australia 20 March 2009
400m Hurdles 56.27 Brisbane, Australia 21 March 2009
800 m 1–59.21 Canberra, Australia 15 January 2000
800 m indoor 2-01.85 Valencia, Spain 7 March 2008

Australian Championships Record[edit]

  • as at 19 April 2010
Year 400 m 800 m 400m Hurdles
1998 1
1999 1
2000 1
2001 1
2002 1
2003 1
2004 2 (1st Australian)
2005 1
2006 2 (1st Australian)
2007 1 1
2008 1 1
2009 1 1
2010 4 (3rd Australian) 2
2011 1 1

Yearly Progression[edit]

  • as at 23 March 2009
Year 400 m 800 m 400m Hurdles
1993 54.84
1994 52.90
1995 53.01
1996 53.34
1997
1998 52.60 2-01.71
1999 52.58 2-00.95
2000 51.51 1–59.21
2001 53.07 2-00.86
2002 52.21 1–59.73
2003 52.85 1–59.35
2004 53.72 2-00.96
2005 52.44 2–11.37
2006 52.36 2-06.52
2007 51.71 1–59.37
2008 51.44 1–59.43
2009 51.42 56.27

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Toby Allen & Leanne Bampton
Dancing with the Stars (Australia) third place contestant
Season 5 (Late 2006 with Arsen Kishishian)
Succeeded by
Tim Campbell & Natalie Lowe