Jane Fitzgerald SPRING BEc LLB

1985 - 1987

JaneSpringIn October 2008 Jane Fitzgerald Spring was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the University for her services to rowing.

For nearly two decades Jane has been an icon, an inspiration and an example to the University community of how to meet and triumph over adversity and face disability with courage, determination and intelligence.

Jane Spring came to the University in 1982 as a brilliant student from Ravenswood. She studied economics. In 1985, in her Honours Year, she moved to the Women’s College and was introduced to rowing with the College Club. Soon after a group from College reformed into the Sydney University Women’s Rowing Club. Jane was elected President and remains so to this day, 22 years later. Since June 1986 Jane has competed or coached in rowing every year in the Australian Universities Games. She also skied for the University.

Jane says that “Highlights of my rowing career include being selected to row in the NSW Lightweight four in 1989 (and turning down he opportunity in 1990 to focus on sculling), winning the NSW Champion Lightweight Scull twice and winning the Australian Lightweight Double Sculling championship. I was named Sydney University Women’s Sports Association Sportswoman of the Year in 1990. I was set to represent Australia in 1990 when I was in a car accident (driver went to sleep at the wheel) and I spent five months in hospital instead. I have since represented NSW in wheelchair basketball twice. I am still passionately involved in sport, working at the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games in the sport area after spending three years working as a solicitor. While I’m not playing any sport at the moment, I exercise my competitive energy through sports administration. It was a dream come true for me when we were able to purchase our own women’s boathouse in Glebe in 1994. I am also very pleased the Women’s Rowing Club was able to win the NSW Rowing Association Premiership for the university in 1995 after an 85-year drought”.

At the time of that terrible accident, Jane was one of the best women rowers in Australia and was expected to be a world class Olympic rower. If this was not to be, equivalent achievement in sports administration became one of her central goals to the infinite advantage of rowing, Sydney University and Australian sport, especially the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

As well as continuing as President of Sydney University Women’s Rowing Club, Jane had also been elected the National Universities Rowing Co-Coordinator for Australian University Sport and a committee member of the Sydney University Women’s Sports Association.

Jane’s life was transformed when Sydney was selected for the 2000 Olympics. Jane was in the first echelon of sports administrators who were enlisted for the Sydney 2000 Games. This group became the famous ‘SOCOG’ Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Jane’s employer for six years from 1994 – 2000.

Jane served as the secretary of the SOCOG Sports Commission and then as the manager of Games Training. This task included liaison with the IOC and IPC to settle the pre-Games and Games Time Training arrangements. During the Games and for two weeks before the Opening Ceremony she also managed the Olympic Village Gymnasium.

Jane had an outstanding Olympics and was a major contributor to the management performance which Juan Samaranch rated as “the best ever”. After the Olympics, Jane was a recipient of the Australian Sports medal awarded by the Commonwealth Government. She has also received NSW Government Community Services Award.

Here at Sydney University, as well as having a ‘Blue’ for Rowing, Jane has a ‘Gold’ for services to the Sydney University Women’s Sports Association. She is also an honorary member of Sydney University Sport. Our Women’s Rowing Club has also named one of their newest boats “Jane Fitzgerald Spring.”

From the Citation for Jane’s award of Honorary Fellow of the University, October 2008

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