Porte and Nesbitt join champions club with inspirational messages

Rob Shaw
Updated November 30 2023 - 9:43am, first published 9:00am
Tasmanian Institute of Sport Champions Club inductees Georgia Nesbitt and Richie Porte. Picture by Rob Shaw
Tasmanian Institute of Sport Champions Club inductees Georgia Nesbitt and Richie Porte. Picture by Rob Shaw

The Tasmanian Institute of Sport's Champions Club lived up to its name with the addition of cyclist Richie Porte and rower Georgia Nesbitt.

The pair both won national titles and became successful international performers before recently retiring.

The Examiner’s Ben Hann, Rob Shaw and Hamish Geale unpack and discuss the sports news across Northern Tasmania.

They joined some illustrious company on a sporting honour roll and provided fitting inspiration to the state's next generation of athletes at a ceremony in Hobart on Thursday morning as the TIS announced its scholarship recipients for the upcoming year.

Some 37 athletes will be supported across varying levels, including 15 receiving targeted assistance, six on training agreements, 11 through the Cycling Performance Squad and five through the Para-Sport Academy.

Another 102 athletes will receive support through the Talent ID for 2032 program, the para-sport project and a partnership with Netball Tasmania.

Porte, 38, and Nesbitt, 31, both reflected on eventful elite careers which faced plenty of personal hurdles.

Richie Porte on his way to victory in the 2020 Tour Down Under. Picture file
Richie Porte on his way to victory in the 2020 Tour Down Under. Picture file

Growing up in Launceston, Porte excelled as a triathlete before switching to cycling at the age of 21, signing his first professional contract in 2010.

In his first Grand Tour later that year, he won the Giro d'Italia's best young rider accolade, led the general classification for three days and finished seventh overall.

Competing in 11 consecutive Tour de France races, he assisted victories for Bradley Wiggins (2012) and Chris Froome (2013 and '15), finished fifth (2016) despite an untimely puncture and crash and achieved his career highlight in 2020 when he became only the second Australian to stand on the podium in Paris.

Porte also won the prestigious Paris-Nice stage race twice (2013 and '15), the Tour Down Under twice (2017 and '20, Tour de Suisse ('18), Volta a Catalunya ('15), Critérium du Dauphiné ('21), Tour de Romandie ('17), Giro del Trentino ('15), national time trial title (2015) and competed at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.

Retiring in 2022, he returned to Launceston from Monaco with his wife Gemma, son Luca and daughter Eloise.

Hobart-born Nesbitt only started rowing at university but swiftly progressed through the Huon Rowing Club and went on to become a seven-time national champion and represent Australia on 10 occasions.

Georgia Nesbitt contesting single sculls in 2019. Picture: Rowing Australia
Georgia Nesbitt contesting single sculls in 2019. Picture: Rowing Australia

She competed as a lightweight at numerous world championships, finishing fifth (2013) and third ('14) in the under-23 double scull, reached the A-final of the single scull in 2015, claimed a silver medal in the women's quad in 2017 before reverting back to the double scull in 2019 (when she and crewmate Sarah Pound narrowly missed Olympic qualification) and the single scull in 2022.

Nesbitt relocated to Penrith to join the women's National Training Centre in 2016 and has also medalled at several world cup regattas.

A serious cycling accident in March preceded her retirement from rowing since when she has been working as a solicitor and has joined the Rowing Tasmania board.

The TIS Champions Club was established in 2006 to recognise athletes who have made a significant contribution to the development of elite sport through their performances and interaction with the community.

Inaugural members were Stephen Hawkins, Simon Burgess and Darren Balmforth (rowing), Paul Wiggins (athletics), Nick Rogers (yachting), Melissa Carlton (swimming), Justin Boocock (canoeing), Daniel Sproule and Bianca Langham (hockey) and Daniel Collins (kayaking).

They have since been joined by hockey players Matthew Wells (2010), David Guest ('13) and Tim Deavin ('18), rowers Anthony Edwards ('13), Kate Hornsey, Scott Brennan (both '15), Sam Beltz ('16) and Kerry Hore ('22), basketballer Hollie Grima ('14) and cyclists Matt Goss ('18) and Amy Cure ('22).

Rob Shaw

Rob Shaw

Sports editor

Heralding the impact of Tasmanian sport without saying "punching above its weight" is not as easy as it sounds.

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