Olympic rower Sarah Tait died from cancer on Thursday morning, aged 33.
Not only an Olympic medallist, Tait was known for being part of a group of female athletes who proved that mothers “can not only continue to compete at an elite level, but also win medals”.
She was diagnosed with cancer after the birth of her second child, Luca, in March 2013. Her first child, Leila, was born in 2009.
Tait competed in three Olympic Games and won a silver medal with Kate Hornsey in the women’s pair in London in 2012.
The Australian Olympic Committee confirmed her death via a statement on Thursday, with president John Coates paying tribute to her achievement and calling her an extremely talented rower.
“Amongst her amazing achievements Sarah pioneered change in attitude by Rowing Australia with the introduction of their Family Friendly Policy allowing children of athletes to be reunited with their mums while away for extended periods of time training and competing,” he said.
“The legacy she leaves for younger women who would like to pursue both motherhood and elite sport is truly inspirational.”
In 2012 she told Fairfax Media about how she became pregnant with Leila three months after the Beijing Games.
She was determined to make the London team, so she trained by swimming up to 15 kilometres a week until three weeks before she gave birth.
Tait was back in full training when Leila was five months old.
She retired from the sport when she was diagnosed with cancer, on the advice of her doctor.