Michelle Cooper was elected as the new President of Triathlon Australia at the Annual General Meeting on Saturday 10 November 2018, the first female to be appointed since the governing body formed in 1986.
Ms Cooper previously served as Vice President under the stewardship of outgoing President Ben Houston, who has left the sport in a healthy position which she will take forward.
“I’m incredibly proud and extremely appreciative to the Presidents of the states and territories for their faith in my ability to lead our sport.”
“We share a consistent vision for the sport. It is a great honour to be given the responsibility of directing Australian triathlon for the next two years.”
“I believe that the next phase of our growth will come from strong, clear leadership, a vision that I live and breathe every day. My experience will enable us to continue to pursue opportunities for enhanced member value and participation at all levels, including, of course, women,” said Ms Cooper.
In addition to her role at Triathlon Australia and corporate life, Ms Cooper has extensive Board experience in her past four roles, including a place on the Sports Ministers Advisory Council (QLD) developing a 10-year sport and recreation engagement strategy.
She has also sat on several advisory councils, is a motivational speaker around behavioural change, age group triathlete, coach, wife and mother to a teenage daughter and two step-daughters.
Since her appointment to the Triathlon Australia board four years ago, Ms Cooper has formed strong relationships with her fellow board directors and since 2015 at International Triathlon Union (ITU) level through participation at Congress. More recently, she joined the Oceania Triathlon Union (OTU) where her leadership and vision has seen her appointed to the role of Secretary General.
Triathlon Australia CEO Miles Stewart was quick to applaud the appointment. He said, “Michelle’s contribution to our Board over the past four years has been invaluable.
“Michelle’s sporting experience, corporate knowledge, industry connections, exposure to the international triathlon community and integration back into our grassroots community provides a holistic leadership platform for our sport.
These traits position her as the best candidate to lead Australian triathlon through its next phase. Gender equality has always been in the DNA of our sport, and I’m incredibly proud to have our first female President.”
The appointment is a true reflection of the gender equity within triathlon. We have been a global leader in this domain since the formation of the ITU in 1989 by Les McDonald and continued through their leadership of current President, Marisol Casado. Casado was appointed to the position in 2008 and continues in the role – she is a leading advocate for gender equality within the IOC and only woman to lead a summer Olympics federation.
The AGM also saw the election of directors to fill the two vacancies.
Stuart Currishly and Alex Gosman.
Triathlon Australia / State and Territory Formation
The first State Triathlon Associations were formed in late 1984 and early 1985. In May 1986 at Broadbeach, Queensland the Triathlon Federation of Australia was formed with Dr Jim Hazel (after whom the Australian Ultra distance Championship Trophy is named) from Sydney becoming the inaugural President and Geoff Frost from Melbourne the Vice President. In 1991 the name of the national Governing Body was changed to Triathlon Australia.