Geelong’s new home of cycling at the Belmont Criterium Track has been named the Russell Mockridge Pavilion, in honour of one of our city’s greatest ever sportsmen.
Having won his first race with the Geelong Amateur Cycling Club in 1946, Mockridge quickly became an international star of both track and road cycling.
He has been described as the best all-round cyclist Australia has ever produced.
He competed at the London 1948 and Helsinki 1952 Olympics, winning gold in the 1000 metre time trial and 2000 metre tandem events in Helsinki on the same day.
He also won two gold medals and a silver medal at the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland.
At home, Mockridge claimed a total of 12 Australian championships, including the professional national road race title three years in a row from 1956 to 1958.
Tragically, he died in his prime at age 30, when he was killed in a road accident during the early stages of the 1958 Tour of Gippsland.
He was survived by wife Irene and daughter Melinda, who was still a toddler at the time.
Melinda joined Mayor Bruce Harwood and members of the local cycling community at the pavilion on Wednesday.
In 2015, Mockridge was an inaugural inductee into the Cycling Australia Hall of Fame.
Away from cycling, he attended The Geelong College and worked as a cadet journalist at The Geelong Advertiser.
The $1.4 million pavilion was funded by the City ($934,000) and the Victorian government ($466,000). It officially opened on 27 January.
Councillor Bruce Harwood - Mayor
Russell Mockridge was a remarkable athlete. At the time of his tragic death, he was the national sprint and road race cycling champion. Compare that to running, and it’s like Usain Bolt and Steve Moneghetti rolled into one.
He is without doubt one of Geelong’s best ever sportsmen, and more than deserving of this honour. It’s fantastic that our cyclists of today will now see his name and remember his deeds every time they come to train.
Melinda Mockridge - Russell's daughter
It’s an honour, and not unexpected in a way, because I know that Geelong people have been holding his memory dear for a long time. It’s just lovely.