Sarah Tait loses hard-fought cancer battle

Rowing Australia is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Australian Rowing Team member and Olympic silver medallist, Sarah Tait.

Sarah had been battling cancer since the birth of her second child, Luca, in March 2013, and in February 2014 made the decision to step away from rowing to battle the disease, a battle she sadly lost on 3 March 2016.

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Sarah Tait and her daughter Leila at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Born, Sarah Anne Outhwaite, on 23 January 1983 in Perth, Western Australia to parents Simon and Barbara Outhwaite, she grew up with her three brothers in the suburb of Wembley Downs and began rowing in Year Nine and her passion for the sport stuck.

On behalf of the Tait and Outwaite families, Bill Tait, Sarah’s husband, said: “The Tait and Outhwaite families are sad to inform of the peaceful passing of Sarah Tait after a long and hard-fought battle with cancer.

“Bill, Leila, Luca and the wider Tait and Outhwaite families continue to be grateful for the support and love that has been shared with Sarah and them through this difficult time. The families are enormously proud of the positive impact Sarah has made on so many throughout her life, and know she will be dearly missed.”

An Environmental Science and Agriculture graduate, Sarah made her first appearance on the international rowing scene, when in 2000, she won a silver medal in the Junior Women’s Four at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Zagreb, Croatia.

From that day forward, Sarah never looked back competing at three Olympic Games (2004, 2008 and 2012) with her final Olympics being the one that saw her win a silver medal alongside Kate Hornsey in the Women’s Pair, the crew was coached by husband, Bill.

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Kate Hornsey, Sarah Tait and Bill Tait ahead of London 2012

At the time of her retirement in 2014, Sarah said her greatest achievement in rowing was taking home a silver medal at London 2012, saying: “Without a doubt, my greatest achievement has to have been combining with Kate and our coach, Bill, to take home that silver medal for Australia in the London 2012 Olympics. Bill has been a great support and in last eight years has made the most amazing difference to my rowing career, and my life, both as my husband and my coach.”

In her time in the team she won numerous accolades including gold and silver in the 2005 World Rowing Championships and bronze in the 2011 World Rowing Championships while she captained the Australian Women’s Rowing Team for both the Beijing (2008) and London (2012) Olympics.

Sarah received her McVilly-Pearce pin, she was rower number 651, alongside her World Championship winning Women’s Eight crewmates late last year.

Rowing Australia President, Rob Scott, said: “Sarah represented Australia with distinction and pride and she was the most fantastic role model to all our athletes, both past and present.

“She was one of the most determined and passionate rowers in our sport and she will be deeply missed by everyone in the rowing community. The entire Australian rowing community sends its thoughts and best wishes to Bill, the children and Sarah’s family at this tragic time.”

Australian Rowing Team Head Coach, Chris O’Brien, echoed Mr Scott’s words saying: “Sarah has been, and will continue to be, an inspiration to many Australian rowers. She was a strong role model to many young athletes but was particularly influential with our emerging female athletes.

“Her spirit for rowing was paralleled with her dedication to her family and friends. Sarah was one of rowing’s most successful and impressive female athletes who has left a permanent mark on our sport. I was personally inspired by Sarah’s pursuit of success in sport and life. She will be sadly missed.”

A member of Swan River RC in Western Australia and Mercantile RC in Victoria, Tait gave birth to her and Bill’s first child, Leila, in 2009 and their second, Luca in 2013. A rowing scholar of the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) and more recently the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS), she is survived by her husband Bill, children Leila and Luca, parents Simon and Barbara, along with the extended family.

Rowing Australia will be providing support for any athletes, coaches and support staff effected during this difficult time. Further details of a memorial to celebrate Sarah’s life will be released in due course.

Bill and Sarah hoped people would donate to the Caritas Hospice Art Therapy Program rather than send flowers. Bank details are below.

“Caritas Christi Hospice Art and Musical Fund”
BSB 013345
A/C 298525861

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Kate Hornsey (stroke) and Sarah Tait (bow) at the Australian Olympic Team Selection Trials in 2012