Griffith University has paid tribute to international track sprinter Stephanie (Steph) Morton OAM after she announced her immediate retirement from the sport following a spectacular 10 year career across both able-bodied and para-cycling disciplines.
Griffith Sports College Manager Naomi McCarthy OAM said Steph had performed at the highest level for a long time and the University had proudly supported her efforts by tailoring her study commitments where possible to ensure she could attend all meets and other events.
“With an eye on her future, Morton studied a degree in Criminology and criminal justice online while she competed at a national and international level from her training base in Adelaide.
“She has worked hard during what has been a stellar career and was well advanced in her return from a knee injury when COVID started to wreak havoc with everyone’s Olympic preparations.
“It is a shame that she and so many amazing athletes were unable to compete in Tokyo this year but we certainly wish her well in her new career.”
Morton’s career highlights include:
- 4x World Champion (Elite — 2019; Para — 2011, 2012 x 2)
- 4x Commonwealth Games gold (2018 — 3; 2014 – 1)
- 2x Olympian (Rio 2016; Named to Tokyo 2020 team prior to retirement)
- 13x National Champion (Elite)
- 2012 Paralympic Games gold medalist (Tandem Pilot for Felicity Johnson)
- Current Australian record holder (with McCulloch) Team Sprint (32.255 seconds)
Morton said her decision to retire was not taken lightly.
“No one could have prepared for what 2020 delivered, hence why this decision has been eight months in the making as I needed to really consider what was best for me moving forward, and it has probably been the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do,” she said.
“But even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and it moved theGames’date, I had always said that the Tokyo Gameswasn’tgoing to define me, win or lose.
“In an ideal world, it would have been nice to go out one more time wearing green gold, but we aren’t in an ideal world anymore.”
Last year Morton spoke to Griffith News about her future plans and how she managed to combine her studies with a packed training and competition schedule.
“I study online so its so manageable you can start a lecture, pause it and come back to it two days later if you need to,” she said.
“Looking around at who offered criminology, Griffith was by far just the most impressive program.
“I just do one subject at a time. I think its important to have something away from sport, something that you’re interested in.
“Criminology has always been a huge interest of mine so to be able to switch off away from cycling, away from the intense pressure and actually just learn and do something that’s going to help me afterwards (is great), because unfortunately we can’t live this life forever and you do have to think about life after sport.”
In 2019, Morton was presented with Griffith University’s Most Outstanding Sporting Achievement award, which she won jointly with freestyle swimmer Emma McKeon.