11 October 2021
Sport Australia was thrilled to hear veteran broadcaster Karen Tighe back on air for ABC Grandstand at the weekend after a prolonged absence due to illness.
Tighe received the lifetime achievement award for contribution to sports journalism at the 2019 Sport Australia Media Awards, acknowledging her achievements in sport broadcasting over more than three decades.
Soon after receiving the award in February 2020, she was struck down with viral encephalitis, a life-threatening inflammation of the brain. She told the ABC in December 2020 that several months later the condition left her with anxiety, nausea and memory loss.
So after 19 months of recovery, we were thrilled to be able to hear Tighe’s voice grace the airwaves again!
Joining the ABC in 1989, Tighe covered a breadth of major sporting events including Olympic and Paralympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championships in swimming, basketball and netball, as well as 16 years hosting the Hopman Cup of tennis.
She became a household name in the early 1990s via the Friday night television show Live and Sweaty and in 1997 became anchor for ABC Grandstand, a staple of weekend sport coverage across the country.
Tighe has become synonymous with the growth of Paralympic sport, playing a key part in coverage of six Paralympic Games.
In accepting her lifetime achievement award last year, Tighe said she hoped to see the continued rise of female sport commentators and Paralympic sport.
“There were few other women in sports media when I started so to see now the increasing number of passionate intelligent women part of the mainstream sports broadcasting mix and without constant reference of being a woman in a man’s world is a significant, overdue shift,” she said.
“What I would love to see now is more women in our broadcast teams in the play-by-play all round commentator role to build on the fine work of a very small number of women at the moment in that space. They are pioneers.”
Entries are now open for the 2021 Sport Australia Media Awards, with categories for written, audio and video journalism. Read about the awards, the categories and how to enter.
The 2020 award for lifetime achievement in sports journalism went to ABC broadcaster Jim Maxwell with the next lifetime achievement recipient to be unveiled in March, 2022.