Marjorie Jackson-Nelson

The Honourable

Marjorie Jackson-Nelson

Marjorie Jackson.jpg
Marjorie Jackson-Nelson in 2007
33rd Governor of South Australia
In office
3 November 2001 – 8 August 2007
MonarchQueen Elizabeth II
PremierRob Kerin (2001–02)
Mike Rann (2002–07)
Preceded bySir Eric Neal
Succeeded byKevin Scarce
Personal details
Born (1931-09-13) 13 September 1931 (age 87)
Coffs Harbour, New South Wales
Spouse(s)Peter Nelson (1953–77; his death)
ResidenceMarion, South Australia
Marjorie Jackson-Nelson
Marjorie Jackson-Nelson 1952.jpg
Jackson at a club meeting in Sydney on 12 January 1952
Personal information
Height1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight66 kg (146 lb)
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)100 m – 11.4 (1952)
200 m – 23.59 (1952)[1][2]

Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC, CVO, MBE (born 13 September 1931) is a former Governor of South Australia and a former Australian athlete. She finished her sporting career with two Olympic and seven Commonwealth Games Gold Medals, six individual world records[1] and every Australian State and National title she contested from 1950–1954.[3]


Marjorie Jackson was born in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, and first gained fame when she defeated reigning Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion Fanny Blankers-Koen a number of times in 1949, thus earning the nickname "the Lithgow Flash", after the New South Wales town of Lithgow where she lived and had grown up.[4]

Having won four titles at the 1950 British Empire Games, Jackson came as a favourite to the Helsinki 1952 Summer Olympics. She won both the 100 m, in a then-world-record-equalling time of 11.5, and the 200 m, winning the first Olympic athletics track titles for Australia since Edwin Flack in 1896. Having more strong runners in the team, the Australian 4 × 100 m relay team was also a favourite for the gold, but a faulty exchange meant Jackson's chances for third gold medal were gone. The Americans, anchored by Catherine Hardy (later Lavender), won in an upset, setting a new world record time of 45.9 seconds.[1] Later in 1952, Jackson lowered the 100 m world record time to 11.4, running this new record in a meet at Gifu, Japan on 4 October 1952.[2]

In 1953 Jackson married Olympic cyclist Peter Nelson.[1] After his death from leukaemia in 1977, she launched the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship. Now named Jackson-Nelson, she was one of the eight flag-bearers of the Olympic Flag at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. She also has a road named in honour of her at the Sydney Olympic Park, beside the Sydney Superdome (now Allphones Arena).

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