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Travels From New South Wales

Jana Pittman

Former Australian Olympic Athlete and Motivational Speaker

“What an incredible journey life has taken me on. Despite having failed repeatedly, I believe that if you keep battling on, you can achieve anything. If one door shuts prematurely, then another door will open, and an even greater future will unfold. Maybe my next challenge will beat me too, but I will just get back up again and again and keep fighting".

Jana Pittman is a two-time world champion and four-time Commonwealth Champion in Athletics. Jana, now an athlete, mum, doctor, wife, speaker, and author, embodies resilience and determination. Persisting injuries presented tremendous challenges in Jana’s life – but instead of throwing in the towel she swapped the track for the ice, joining the Australian Women’s Bobsleigh Team. She was the first woman to represent Australia in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

In 1999, sixteen-year-old Jana won her first junior world title at the World Youth Championships, marking the start to her illustrious athletic career. The following year, she matched the 400m hurdles junior record and won the 400m and 400m hurdles at the World Juniors – subsequently, Jana was selected to compete at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and she won the IAAF Rising Star Award.

She won her second World title only 8mths after the birth of her son. Soon after, at the 2002 The Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Jana won both the 400m hurdles and the 4 x 400m relay.

In 2003 at the World Championships in Paris, Jana won Gold in the 400m hurdles – where she became the youngest 400m hurdles World Champion in history.

Jana loved running for her country; as she says “there’s no better feeling than putting on the ‘green and gold’ and hearing your name announced in a stadium full of screaming supporters - let alone if you are victorious at an international event and the Aussie anthem booms through the stadium as you are presented with your gold medal.”

However, the years that followed were not kind to Jana; a devastating knee injury meant that Jana had to pause her career and build herself back up through heavy rehabilitation and surgery in the few months leading up to the 2004 Athens Olympics. Despite taking a break from athletics, Jana Pittman returned to the track in 2006 in spectacular fashion – securing the 4 x 400 Gold Medal in front of a home crowd.

Jana was sidelined by her injuries time and time again and had to come to terms with the fact that not every goal will come to fruition. However, just as the Olympic torch seemed to be put out for her, the call came to join the Aussie women’s bobsled team. Jana found this to be an amazing opportunity to reinvent herself athletically and resulted in her competing in her third Olympic games in Sochi 2014.

Whilst sport was her identity, Jana believes that her true passion lies elsewhere. She considers herself incredibly lucky to share her life with her ‘four little gold medals’ (her children - Cornelis, Emily, Jemima, and Charlie). There was a time when she thought she wouldn’t be able to have more babies due to her abnormal cells in her cervix. These challenges reignited her childhood desire to become a doctor, and she graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in 2019. She now works as a junior doctor in a NSW hospital.

In the future, Jana hope to become an obstetrician/gynaecologist and work in Women’s health, having already finished a Masters of Reproductive Medicine.

She also has the privilege of being ambassador for some amazing organisations in the medical world including the ‘Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation’, ‘Save the Box (RANZGOG)’ and ‘Westmead Medical Research Foundation.

These days says she secretly believes that all her work in sport might simply have been to give her a voice for things like cancer awareness and research.

In 2021, Jana appeared Channel 7’s popular TV show “SAS Australia” where she showed off her incredible endurance and resolve, and quickly became a fan favourite. She was the last remaining woman on the show, just five and a half months after having her fourth child.

Jana’s tremendous determination and strength are as inspiring as they are remarkable; she seeks to instil this drive and courage in audiences to change lives and assist people in reaching their full potential.

If you’re looking to inspire your audience with a story of courage, determination and reinvention, call us today to find out how to book Jana Pittman as a keynote speaker at your next event.

Enquire about Jana Pittman to speak at your next event