Richard (Dick) Telford AM

Growing up in Melbourne, Dick won the 1968 JJ Liston Trophy for best player in the Victorian Football Association (now called VFL) playing for Preston, after a handful of games with both Collingwood and Fitzroy. He progressed to coaching senior level football and cricket, culminating in his coach-managerial role with the Victorian cricket team with Sheffield Shield wins in 1978/79 and 1979/80. These sporting exploits were balanced with early training as a PE and Mathematics teacher, a science degree and finally a PhD in the Physiology Department at Melbourne University.

His early work in exercise physiology led to his appointment as the first sports scientist at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra in 1981, pioneering a philosophy of sport science that helped propel Australia to the forefront of athlete training and development. This coincided with our Olympic medal count improving from 5 in Montreal 1980 to 41 in Atlanta 1996.

While at the AIS, Dick was led into distance running coaching, and has remained in the sport ever since with elite squads in the ACT and interstate. He has coached athletes to every Olympic and Commonwealth Games since 1988, including runners to nine Commonwealth Games medals, five being gold. He also coached Australia’s only marathon medallist, Lisa Martin, to silver at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Since 2003 Dick has led a team investigating the ‘physical literacy’ of Australian children through the ACT based National Lifestyle of Our Kids (LOOK) Project. This work continues and is centered at the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise, with many publications demonstrating how well-designed physical education and physical activity in primary schools lead not only to better health and well-being, but to better academic results.

SPORTS SCIENCE AND COACHING

Born: 2 April 1945

Inducted: 2018

Associate Member