Today it’s 60 years ago that Russell Mockridge passed away during the Tour of Gippsland. Mockridge was one of two Australian riders at the Tour de France 1955. He also became two times Olympic champion at the Olympic Games in Helsinki 1952. He won the kilometre and tandem sprint track race.
At the age of 20, he was selected for the Olympic Games 1948 in London. He finished 26nd of the 28 finished in a field of 101 in the 192-kilometre road race. On the track, he was part of the Australian team in the team pursuit, They elected at the quarterfinals and classified as tied fifth.
Two years later, at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, he conquered three medals, including two golds. He won the kilometre and the sprint and became second in the pursuit. After the games, he gave his bike away and joined the church because “There’s a lot more to this life than riding a bicycle”. Soon he decided that perhaps he had it wrong about there being more in life than cycling. A year later, he was second to Enzo Sacchi in the world sprint championship.
In 1952, he became two times Olympic champion in the kilometre in an Olympic record and in the tandem sprint. After this success in Helsinki, he chooses to ride more road races. In 1954 he won Grand Prix Marcel Kint and in 1955 he took part in the Tour de France at mixed Luxembourg – International team and finished 64th. This was his only Tour, but he was much happier in short races than long ones.
Mockridge goes back to Australia and became three times in a row national champion and won the Tour of Tasmania and Herald Sun Tour in 1957 before he didn’t see a bus coming towards him on 13 September 1958 during the Tour of Gippsland and crashed which resulted in death. He was 30 years old.