Full Name: Jana-Emily Rawlinson (nee Pittman)
Date of Birth: 09.11.1982 Place of Birth: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Discipline: 400 Hurdles and 400m
Occupation: Athlete, Mother and Student
Height: 181cm Weight: 68kg
Marital Status: Married to Chris Rawlinson (GBR international), son Cornelis born December 2006
Coach: Chris Rawlinson Previous Coaches: Phil King, Craig Hilliard
Scholarship:VIS, NSWIS AND SSSM Scholar at AIS
Club: Hills District Athletics Club
INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HONOURS
Olympic Games: 2000 – 400m hurdles 3rd heat (56.76), 4 x 400m 2nd heat (3.24.05, split 51.9), 2004 – 400m hurdles 5th (53.92)
World Championships: 2003 – 400m hurdles 1st (53.22), 2005 – 400m hurdles withdrew injured, 2007 – 400m hurdles 1st (53.31)
Commonwealth Games: 2002 – 400m hurdles 1st (54.40), 4 x 400m 1st (3.25.63, split 50.38), 2006 – 400m hurdles 1st (53.82), 4 x 400m 1st (3.28.66, split 51.8)
World Junior Championships: 2000 – 400m 1st (52.45), 400m hurdles 1st (56.27), 4 x 400m 7th (3.38.66, split 53.60)
World Cup: 2002 – 400m hurdles 3rd (55.15), 4 x 400m 7th (3.31.32, split 51.6)
World Youth Championships: 1999 – 400m 7th (55.06), 400m hurdles 1st (57.87)
AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS HONOURS
200m: 1999 (U18) – 1st
400m: 1999 (U18) – 1st, 2000 – 4th (3rd Australian), 2006 – 8th
400m hurdles: 1998 (U18) – 1st, 1999 (U18) – 1st, (U20) – 1st, 2001 – 1st, 2002 – 1st, 2003 – 1st
EVENTS / PERSONAL BESTS:
100 metres: 11.77 (2003)
100m hurdles: 13.92 (+1.9) – Hobart, 30/01/00
200 metres: 23.52 (+1.8) – Sydney, 15/02/03
400 metres: 50.43 – Sydney, 22/03/03
400m hurdles: 53.22 – Paris, 28/08/03
Commonwealth Games record: 4 x 400m – 3.25.63, Manchester 2002
World Junior/Australian U20 record: 400m hurdles – 55.20, Pietersberg (RSA) 18/03/00
Australian U18 record: 400m hurdles – 56.23, Sydney 18/12/99
Australian U18 record: 400m – 51.80, Sydney 12/12/99
Australian best: 300m – 36.34
As a young athlete, Jana competed for Parramatta and Winston Hills Little Athletics clubs.
Before competition, she paints her fingernails and toenails in the colours of her team and wears a gold bracelet given to her by her former training partner Melinda Gainsford-Taylor. She draws inspiration from a tattoo of a bumblebee on her stomach. According to Jana, “aerodynamically the bumble bee cannot fly but it doesn’t know this so it goes on flying anyway. To me it means I have been given this body and I’m capable of anything.”
She is known for her fascination with collecting stuffed wombat toys and the Melbourne Zoo named a baby wombat in her honour.
Prior to the Athens Olympics she was coached by Phil King and mentored by his wife, Seoul Olympic 400m hurdles champion Debbie Flintoff-King.
In 2002, Jana commenced a science degree by correspondence from Monash University.
An obvious talent from the earliest sightings, Jana’s first national medal came in the 200m hurdles in December 1996. But everything was clear by 1999 when she became the World Youth (under 18 champion) at 400m hurdles at her first major international competition and then set the Australian All Schools Championships alight in December with two world class performances.
At the 2000 nationals, Jana placed third in the 400m then equalled the World Junior 400m hurdles record with a dazzling time of 55.20 on a tour of South Africa.
By August she had won the 400m hurdles at the Olympic Selection Trials, eventually placing third in her heat at the Games and missing a semi-final berth by just one position. In the 4 x 400m relay Jana ran a storming third leg in the heats, clocking 51.10 and assisting the team to 3.24.05, breaking a 25-year-old national record.
Less than three weeks later Jana contested the World Junior Championships in Chile, winning the 400m and 400m hurdles double whilst visiting the Australian embassy to sit higher school certificate exams each evening.
Two years later, Jana smashed her PB in the heats at the Manchester Commonwealth Games, clocking 54.14 – the second fastest time in the world for 2002. She won the final comfortably with a time of 54.40, then anchored the 4 x 400m relay to gold with a superb 50.38 – the third fastest relay split ever by an Australian. A third placing at the World Cup in Madrid followed.
She demonstrated her ever rising talent with an amazing series of performances in her 2003 domestic season, smashing her 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m and 400m hurdles PBs. Jana moved to No. 1 in the 400m hurdles on the IAAF merit rankings and ran a then lifetime best of 53.76. She also ran an Australian 300m best time of 36.34 and, over 400m, registered 50.43 to break Catherine Freeman’s 25-race unbeaten streak. In July she delivered a 400m hurdles PB with a world leading time of 53.62.
Not daunted by the news that the world record was broken by Russian Yuliya Pechonkina just two weeks prior to the Paris World Championships, Jana sprang a surprise taking the gold in a PB of 53.22 – becoming the youngest 400m hurdles Olympic or world champion in history (male or female).
Her form in the lead-up to the 2004 Olympics was solid with wins in Zagreb, Rome and Crete before recording her season best and second fastest time ever of 53.43 in Heusden. Disaster struck on August 6 in Zurich when she suffered a slight tear in her right lateral meniscus (knee) in the warm-up. An initial MRI indicated her season was over, but a second opinion and operation in London put her back on track just 15 days later.
At the Games in Athens, she won her heat and was second in her semi. Jana gave herself a good chance in the final with a strong first 250m, but the training missed started to catch up and she finished fifth (53.92). Her season best would have been good enough for bronze.
After a brief 2005 domestic season, she ran a series of good races in Europe but in July announced that she had stress fracture in her back, eventually causing her withdrawal from the Helsinki World Championships.
Jana returned to competition in 2006, winning in Canberra in 54.81. Opting to contest only the 400m at the nationals, where she ran poorly in the final, her Commonwealth Games plans look to have faltered but she returned to form two weeks later – winning the 400m hurdles at the Victorian Championships at the MCG. She went on to retain her Commonwealth titles with an emphatic win in 53.82 and her role in the gold medal-winning relay team.
Life very much took a family approach for Jana after the Commonwealth Games; she married British international 400m hurdler and coach Chris Rawlinson in April and gave birth to son Cornelis in December 2006. Yet commitment to her sport wasn’t sacrificed; Jana trained right up until Cornelis was born.
Returning to competition in late May, so began a surge to the World Championships that brought six wins from seven starts against top athletes – the last of those her fourth fastest time ever in the 400m hurdles (53.46) in Monaco in late July.
The prospect of victory in Osaka seemed a fairytale but Jana prepared to make it real. Few doubted it could happen. Comfortably winning her heat in 54.77, she cruised through her semi-final in 53.57 and the stage was set.
Jana produced a near-perfect run in the final, claiming her second world crown and posting a season’s best time second only to her PB set in Paris four years earlier. Australia’s queen of the track had come full circle.
Second place at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart and a win at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix rounded out an amazing campaign by an amazing athlete.
Jana is married to and coached by British international 400m hurdler Chris Rawlinson, who has a PB of 48.14 and won the 2002 Commonwealth Games title