Marjorie Jackson

Marjorie Jackson

Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, AC, CVO, MBE (born 13 September 1931) is the former Governor of South Australia and a former Australian athlete. She finished her sporting career with 2 Olympic and 7 Commonwealth Games Gold Medals, 10 world records and every Australian State and National title she contested from 1950-1954. ["Olympic Order for the Lithgow Flash" (2007)]


Marjorie Jackson was born in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, and first gained fame when she defeated reigning Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion Fanny Blankers-Koen a number of times in 1949, thus earning the nickname "the Lithgow Flash", after the New South Wales town of Lithgow where she lived and had grown up.

Having won four titles at the 1950 British Empire Games, Jackson came as a favourite to the Helsinki 1952 Summer Olympics. She won both the 100 m, in a then World Record equalling time of 11.5, and also the 200 m, winning the first Olympic athletics titles for Australia since Edwin Flack in 1896. Having more strong runners in the team, the Australian 4 x 100 m relay team was also a favourite for the gold, but a faulty exchange meant Jackson's chances for third gold medal were gone. The Americans, anchored by Catherine Hardy (later Lavender), won in an upset, setting a new world record time of 45.9 seconds. Later in 1952, Jackson lowered the 100m World Record time to 11.4, running this new record in a meet at Gifu, Japan on 4 October 1952.

In 1953 Jackson married Olympic cyclist Peter Nelson. After his death from leukaemia in 1977, she launched the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship.

Marjorie Jackson-Nelson was one of the eight flag-bearers of the Olympic Flag at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

On 15 March 2006, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson was one of the final four runners who carried the Queen's Baton around the MCG stadium during the 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

In late 2001, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson was appointed as Governor of South Australia. She relinquished office on 31 July 2007.

On 6 June 2007, it was announced that a new medical facility to be built in Adelaide will be named the "Marjorie Jackson-Nelson Hospital". []

She also has a road named in honour of her at Olympic Park in Sydney, beside the Sydney Superdome (now Acer Arena).


* 1953: Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Coronation Honours for her service to women's athletics. [ [ It's an Honour] - Member of the Order of the British Empire]
* 2001: Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) upon appointment as Governor. [ [ It's an Honour] - Companion of the Order of Australia]
* 2002: Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in February 2002 during Queen Elizabeth II's visit to South Australia. [ [ It's an Honour] - Commander of the Royal Victorian Order]
* 2007: Olympic Order, the highest order bestowed by the International Olympic Committee. The citation from the IOC stated that the award was made for her "having illustrated the Olympic ideal through her actions, having achieved remarkable merit in the sporting world and having rendered outstanding service to the Olympic movement through her community work and as Governor of South Australia". ["Olympic Order for Lithgow Flash" (2007)]

She is also a Dame of the Order of St John of Jerusalem and a Freeman of the City of London.

External links

* [ Biography at the Governor of South Australia website]
* [ Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship Fund]



* "Olympic Order for Lithgow Flash" (2007), "The Canberra Times", 16 July 2007, p. 4

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