London Olympics silver medallist Sarah Tait took her last breath on Thursday after fighting with cancer since she was diagnosed with the disease in 2013.
Besides being an excellent Olympian, Tait was also the mother of two. She proved that mothers cannot only “compete at an elite level, but also win medals.” She was diagnosed with the disease following the birth of her second child, Luca, in 2013 and died at the age of 33. She delivered her first child, Leila, in 2009.
Tait held the captaincy of the Australian rowing team at the Beijing Olympics. She was in the women’s eight when Sally Robbins refused to row prior to the wrap up of the final in Athens in 2004. She won a gold medal as well as a silver medal at the World Rowing championships 2005, along with a bronze medal for the same in 2011. One of her memorable wins was a silver medal in Olympics in the women’s pairs with Kate Hornsey in 2012.
The confirmation of her death came when the Australian Olympic Committee’s president, John Coates, paid tribute to her achievement in his statement. “Amongst her amazing achievements Sarah pioneered change in attitude by Rowing Australia with the introduction of their Family Friendly Policy allowing children of athletes to be reunited with their mums while away for extended periods of time training and competing,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.
“The legacy she leaves for younger women who would like to pursue both motherhood and elite sport is truly inspirational,” Coates said.
Tait quit her rowing career in February 2014 to battle cancer in which she received complete support from her senior national coach husband Bill and their two children. The Guardian reported that Rowing Australia CEO Rob Scott also paid tribute to the excellent sportswoman and mentioned her as an ideal for past as well as future athletes.
“She was one of the most determined and passionate rowers in our sport and she will be deeply missed by everyone in the rowing community,” said Scott in a statement. “The entire Australian rowing community sends its thoughts and best wishes to Bill, the children and Sarah’s family at this tragic time.”