BELCONNEN, Australia, August 29. FOLLOWING the resignation of Barclay Nettlefold amidst a controversy of alleged inappropriate behavior, Swimming Australia has looked to legendary Olympic sailor John Bertand as its new president. Bertrand is set to fill the position through the end of the term that occurs in October 2014.
Bertrand represented Australia as an Olympic sailor in 1972 and 1976, winning bronze in the latter Olympiad. He also competed in five separate America’s Cups, where he won the event for Australia in 1983 to break a 132-year stranglehold on the competition by the Americans. The Confederation of Australian Sport called it “the greatest team performance in 200 years of Australian sport.”
That’s some serious love and respect for Bertrand as Australia continues to climb out of several controversies that have slammed the organization in the past few years.
Bertrand is currently the Chairman of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame, and of the Alannah and Madeline Children’s Foundation, a charity created after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996. Bertrand continues to support anti-bullying and child protection causes as a philanthropist.
“I am honored to have been selected to preside over Swimming Australia,” Bertrand said in a statement. “I’ve had an association with high performance sport and high performance teams for more than 40 years and this appointment is one of the highlights of my career. Swimming has a proud history in this country and a reputation for hard work, humility and success. This tradition needs to continue and be a clear focus for all athletes and coaches as we head towards Rio in 2016.
“Australians love watching our gold-capped swimmers in action and personally I get a real sense of pride when they are making their presence felt on the swimming world stage,” Bertrand continued. “The recent performances at the World Championships in Barcelona and Montreal were a positive next step towards Rio and it’s clear that things are moving in the right direction. My immediate focus will be to provide the corporate leadership and direction to ensure continued improvement in sporting results, corporate governance, team culture and grass roots growth at the community sport level.”