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Simon Peter Burgess
b. 11 September 1967
The idyllic waterways of the Huon region in southern Tasmania have been the training environment for many outstanding Tasmanian rowers over the years. Franklin-born lightweight rower Simon Burgess is a brilliant example.
Starting his international career in the single sculls in 1989 in the Trans-Tasman series, he won gold in the individual event and a gold medal in the double scull. The next year he moved to the lightweight four, and that was the beginning of what was to become a brilliant rowing future in multi-oared events.
Simon's achievements over his 16 year career of international competition have been simply extraordinary; he won a Commonwealth Games gold medal; two gold, one silver, and two bronze medals at World Championships; four gold and one silver in World Cup events and five gold, two silver and two bronze medals at other major international events.
Simon also won at numerous national championships. His total was 25 gold medals, nine silver and one bronze medal – something that can only be regarded as an unparalleled number of medals for a Tasmanian rower. This set of results includes an Australian record of seven successive wins in the Penrith Cup, the premier event for lightweight four crews in Australia.
What really caught the attention of the sports-loving Tasmanian public was Simon's achievements at the Olympic Games.
He was selected to row for his country in three Olympic crews. The first was Atlanta in 1996, where the lightweight four finished in 6th place. In his second Games, in Sydney in 2000, Simon was involved in a heart-stopping final, where the French crew overtook the Australians in the last metre of the event to win by hundredths of a second. Simon's third Olympic Games was in Athens in 2004, finishing again with a silver medal.
Other significant achievements in the career of Simon Burgess include winning the Simon Dean Trophy for Tasmania's outstanding male rower on six occasions; winning the Mercury Sports Personality of the Year in 2001; captaining the Australian rowing team to the World Championships in 2001 and 2003 and having the honour of being the 2004 Athens Olympic Games rowing team male captain.