Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
Category: Sports Hall of Fame
In the 1960s the cycle track at Deakin Reserve Shepparton became unsafe for bike riding. A group of cycling enthusiasts headed by Don Fairless worked hard to get local support to build a velodrome. The new cycle track was constructed at McEwan Reserve and was recognised as one of the best velodromes in Australia. It was due to that construction that local cyclists had the opportunity to try themselves out on the steeply banked track. A local youngster named Shaun Obrien fell in love with track cycling and commenced a cycling career that would see him ride across the world at International level and become an Olympic medallist.
Shaun commenced with the Shepparton Cycling Club in 1978 at 8 years of age. He showed immediate promise and made his way through junior ranks in great style. He really came to notice when he won the Victorian Schoolboys under 12 track cycling championship in 1981.
He went on to win the under 16 Australian Team Pursuit championship in 1984 and 1985 along with the Australian Road Team Time Trial in 1985.
Whilst still a junior he was first in the Australian Junior 3000m pursuit in 1987 and represented Australia in the World Titles in Italy.
His top form saw him win 2 major events during the 1988 road season in Europe and he became a scholarship holder at the AIS track cycling unit in Adelaide. Shaun made the most of this opportunity and showed that he had arrived as a top Australian cyclist.
He was voted Victoria’s 1988 Cyclist of the Year winning four Victorian titles.
In 1989 he returned to Europe to represent Australia in the World Elite Track Cycling Championships in Lyon France.
Shaun then won selection in the Australian Commonwealth Games team which saw him win silver medals in the Team Pursuit and 10km scratch race at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games.
In the same year he won the 50 km Madison at the 1990 World Track League Cup in Montreal, Canada.
In 1991 he competed in the World Championships in the Team Pursuit in Stuttgart Germany and his team won a bronze medal.
1992 was an Olympic year and Shaun O’Brien became Shepparton’s third Cycling Olympian when he won selection in the track cycling team for the Barcelona Olympics. Shaun teamed with Stuart O’Grady, Brett Aitken, and Stephen McGlede to win the silver medal in the 4000 meter team pursuit. It was a great result for someone who had worked so hard and dedicated himself to winning on the track.
Shaun O’Brien can be so proud of his sporting career and Shepparton can be justly proud to call him “our champion”.