Gold Coast athletes of influence – Part 2


In this two-part interview, Gené Stephan profiles 12 of the Gold Coast’s most revered sporting greats.

Following on from last week, when More Gold Coast named its list of modern-day sporting superstars who represent the Coast on the world stage – the final six names are revealed.

Adam Scott | 36, Golf

One of the world’s premier golfers for more than a decade, Scott will go down in history as the first Australian to win the US Masters in 2013.

The win contributed to him becoming the world’s No. 1 ranked player the following year – the first Australian since Greg Norman in 1998 to do so.

In monetary terms he is one of the world’s top five earners of all-time with more than $60 million in prize money, and reportedly more than that in off-field earnings.

At the age of 23 in 2004, he became the youngest player to win the US PGA Tour’s flagship event, the Players Championship – golf’s unofficial fifth Major.

2011 marked the start of his most consistent run of success which coincided with his decision to change to a broomstick putter and partnership with caddie Steve Williams who was on Tiger Woods’ bag for 12 years during 13 of his Major wins.

His other notable results in 2011 included a win at the World Golf Championships and runner-up status at the Masters while narrowly missing out at the 2012 British Open.

In 2013 he joined forces with Beaudesert’s Jason Day, the current world No.1, to win the World Cup for Australia.

He has also played in seven International Teams at the Presidents Cup in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 – just one behind all-time leaders Ernie Els and Vijay Singh who have one more appearance than Scott.

In addition to his Masters success, Scott has also won 28 other titles around the world including five in Australia – the Australia Open, PGA Championship, Johnny Walker Classic and two Australian Masters tournaments.

Other results include three top-5s at the British Open, three top-10s at the US Masters, four at the US PGA Championships and two at the US Open.

Sam Stosur | 32, Tennis

Stosur achieved a career high world ranking of No.4 in singles and No.1 in doubles.

Her singles performance is highlighted by her win at the US Open championships in 2011 becoming the first Australian woman in 31 years, behind Evonne Goolagong, to win a Grand Slam title.

Stosur’s achievement was especially significant, given that it came at the expense of American world No.1 Serena Williams, at the height of her career.

A year earlier she reached the final of the French Open where she reached the semi-finals three other times in 2009, 2012 and 2016.

Her doubles prowess has secured her five Grand Slam titles in women’s and mixed competition.

At Wimbledon she has won two mixed doubles titles but has yet to win the women’s doubles despite three finals appearances.

Her other doubles wins in the women’s event have been at the US Open in 2005 and French Open in 2006.

Her remaining Grand Slam title was in the mixed doubles at the Australian Open in 2005.

She has also represented Australia at the past four Olympic Games.

Mick Fanning | 35, Surfing

Fanning’s path to surfing greatness has incorporated all the attributes of a champion.

He has overcome personal tragedy, career-threatening injury and one of sport’s greatest competitive dynasties, in the form of American Kelly Slater, to reach surfing’s highest echelon three times by winning the World Tour in 2007, 2009 and 2013.

In his first year on tour in 2002 he finished fifth to earn the Rookie of the Year award.

He went a step further to finish fourth the following year before a catastrophic free-surfing injury forced him out of competition for six months after he ripped his hamstring from the bone.

In a remarkable comeback from potentially career-ending injury in 2007 he put together one of the most impressive competitive seasons of all time, winning three events, finishing runner-up in another and making four semi-finals to become the first Australian to usurp Slater for a world title in 15 years.

The first person Fanning thought of when he won was his beloved brother, Sean, who died tragically in a car accident when Mick was just 16 and he dedicated this achievement to him.

In 2009, Mick clawed his way from nowhere to catch runaway ratings leader, Joel Parkinson, one of his best friends, to capture Title number two.

He climbed to the top again in 2013, collecting his third World title ahead of Slater in one of the sport’s most thrilling title showdowns.

In 2014 he finished runner-up to eventual World Champion Gabriel Medina, falling just short in the season’s final event.

2015 was a year filled with drama and pain – in South Africa he was attacked by a Great White Shark while competing at Jeffrey’s Bay before being rescued.

During the season-ending Pipeline Masters in Hawaii, with Fanning among six surfers with a chance of winning the World Tour crown, tragedy struck when his brother Peter died.

He battled on despite the grief all the way to the semi-finals which included a win over Slater, only to be knocked out in the last contest before the final.

Mathew Belcher | 34, Sailing

Belcher is one of the world’s greatest 470 dinghy sailors having won Olympic gold and silver at the past two Games.

In London in 2012 he teamed up with Malcolm Page to deliver one of three sailing gold medals at the Games and backed up in Rio in 2016 winning silver with Will Ryan.

He has been equally dominant with Page and Ryan at the world championships winning gold in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and was named World Sailor of the Year in 2013.

He is married to German sailor Friederike Belcher who competed in the women’s 470 class in London 2012.

Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while at school at TSS he was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Emma Moffatt | 32, Triathlon

Moffatt is among a generation of Australian triathletes who have ruled the world since the sport’s inclusion on the Olympic calendar in Sydney in 2000.

Moffatt is one of the nation’s most recognisable triathletes as a two-time world champion and bronze medallist at the Beijing Olympics where countryman Emma Snowsill won gold.

At the Rio Olympics in 2016, she become Australia’s first ever triathlon triple Olympian.

She has also won silver at the world championships and bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Bernard Tomic | 24, Tennis

Tomic turned professional as a 15-year-old in 2008 after a stellar junior career which included two junior grand slam singles titles at the US Open and Australian Open. He also won three unofficial world championships at the Orange Bowl.

He has claimed the scalps of some of the world’s best players including world No.1 Novak Djokovic to reach a career-high ranking of No.17 in the world in 2016.

He has an impressive representative record for Australia winning 25 of his 31 representative matches in singles competition.

In 2011 Tomic became the youngest player since Boris Becker in 1986 to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

He has won $6.5 million in career prize money and secured three professional singles titles. In addition, he has consistently reached the quarterfinals of major tournaments – especially on his preferred grass court surface.

Tomic represented Australia at his maiden Olympics in London 2012.

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