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Breen honoured for impact on and off track

02 April 2024

Sprint star turned Australian Sports Commission social media guru Melissa Breen has had a weekend to remember at the historic Stawell Gift in regional Victoria.

Sprint star turned ASC social media coordinator Melissa Breen was inducted into the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame over the weekend.

Breen was inducted into the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame, becoming only the second female to receive the honour after Olympic legend Cathy Freeman.

Having stepped away from sport following her decorated athletics career, which included representing Australia at the Rio and London Olympic Games, Breen returned to the sector in 2023 as part of the AIS Accelerate Program which is designed to retain the experience and knowledge of retired female athletes in sport.

The Accelerate program reignited Breen’s passion for sport and led to her being appointed as the social media coordinator at the ASC later that year.

Speaking at the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame Gala event, Breen said she was still coming to terms with the accolade.

“It’s an honour to be inducted as the second female after the great Cathy Freeman,” Breen said.

“I’m still pinching myself and it’s something I will be very proud of forever.

“Stawell holds a very special place in my heart. I first came here in 2009 as an 18-year-old and had no idea what I was getting myself into.

“The prestige and how long this event has been going is something I fell in love with and to win in 2012 was something I didn’t expect.”

Breen’s impact at Stawell goes far beyond her memorable victory in 2012. She also played a lead role in ensuring that equal prize money was awarded to men and women at the famous event.

This weekend was the first time Breen had been at Stawell for seven years and was accompanied by her former coach and now husband Matt and their two-year-old daughter, Emjay.

12 years after achieving the rare double of winning the Stawell Gift (off scratch) and also taking out the Fashions at Central Park sash, Breen returned to the off-track event with Emjay alongside her in matching outfits.

Melissa Breen at the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame Gala event with her two-year-old daughter, Emjay.
Melisaa Breen wore a matching outfit with her two-year-old daughter Emjay for the gala's Fashions Day activities.
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