Melinda Gainsford-Taylor
Melinda Gainsford-Taylor in 2000
Personal information
Born (1971-10-01) 1 October 1971 (age 50)[1]
Narromine, New South Wales, Australia
Height172 cm (5 ft 8 in)
Weight67 kg (10 st 8 lb)
SportTrack and field
Event(s)Women's 100m & 200m
4 x 100m & 400m relays
Updated on 9 February 2014.

Melinda Gainsford-Taylor AM (born 1 October 1971 in Narromine, New South Wales) is a retired Australian athlete, who specialised in sprint events.

In 1995 Gainsford-Taylor won the World Indoor championship over 200 m. During her career she also won international medals at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games. She is the cousin of Australian Olympic backstroke swimmer Josh Watson who won silver in the Men's 4 × 100-metre medley relay at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Junior career

In 1989, she won the first of three consecutive Australian Junior 100 m titles, also winning the Junior 200 m championships in 1989 and 1991.

At the 1990 World Junior Championships Gainsford reached the semi-finals of both the 100 and 200 metres sprints and assisted the Australian 4 x 100 metres relay team to a new national junior record of 45.01 seconds.

Senior career

Although Gainsford-Taylor became a world champion in 1995, her senior career really began when she won the first of five 100m/200 m sprint doubles at the 1992 Australian National Championships and won selection in the Olympic team, where she made the semi-finals of the 200m.

In 1993, she won a silver medal at the World Indoor Championships, but later in the season broke down in the 100 m semi-finals of the 1993 World Championships in Athletics.

During 1994, Gainsford-Taylor won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games behind her arch-rival Cathy Freeman and set an Australian record for 100 m of 11.12. A year later, she won the 200 m at the 1995 World Indoor Championships in Athletics and took home a bronze medal from the 1995 World Championships in Athletics as part of the Australian 4 x 400 m relay team.

In 1997, defending her World Indoor crown, Gainsford was disqualified for running out of her lane in the semi-final of the 200 m. Later in the year, she made up for that disappointment with a new Australian record of 22.23 seconds. Soon after, Gainsford-Taylor reached her first individual outdoor final at the Athens World Championships, placing 7th in the 200 m final.

The latter part of her career was hampered by injury. Running with knee problems, she famously broke down metres before the finish when in first place during the 200 m race at the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

During her career, she won a total of thirteen individual open titles – two at 100 yards, six at 100 metres and five over 200 metres.

Melinda Gainsford-Taylor (second from the right) at Olympic Games in 2000 in Sydney.
Melinda Gainsford-Taylor (second from the right) at Olympic Games in 2000 in Sydney.

At her third Olympic Games at Sydney 2000 she made the final of the 200 m sprint, placing 6th, and assisted the Australian 4 x 400 m relay team to a fifth-place finish and a new national record.

Still holding Australian records at 100 m and 200 m, and sharing in 4 x 100 m and 4 x 400 m relay records, Gainsford-Taylor retired in 2002.

Family life

Gainsford-Taylor is married to Mark Taylor and the couple have two children, Nicholas and Gabriella. In 2015, Gabriella became the fastest 10-year-old girl in the country over 100 metres (330 ft) and 200 metres (660 ft).

Post career

Gainsford-Taylor now works with Little Athletics New South Wales visiting schools.[2] She also provides expert commentary for Australian TV channel One during their coverage of the Australian Athletics Tour.

She is a fan of National Rugby League team the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and is a former board member of the club. She is also a member of the "Eagle Angels", a high-profile group of women who excel in their chosen fields and all with a passion for the Sea Eagles. Other members include comedian, author and radio personality Wendy Harmer, World Surfing Champion Layne Beachley, newsreader Tracey Spicer, and swimmer Brooke Hanson.

In 2017 Gainsford-Taylor was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to athletics as a sprinter, at the national and international level, and as a role model for young athletes.[3]


Personal Bests – outdoor

Event Time Wind City Date
100 Yards 10.4 NWI Adelaide 11 Dec 94
100 Metres 11.12 +1.9 Sestriere 31 Jul 94
200 Metres 22.23 +0.8 Stuttgart 13 Jul 97
400 Metres 51.73 Brisbane 22 Jul 00

Personal Bests – indoor

Event Time City Date
60 Metres 7.36 Toronto Mar 93
200 Metres 22.64 Barcelona 10 Mar 95

National records


Event Time City Date
100 Metres 11.12 Sestriere 31 Jul 94
200 Metres 22.32 Hobart 26 Feb 94
22.23 Stuttgart 13 Jul 97


Event Time City Date Team
4x100 Metres relay 42.99 Pietersburg 18 Mar 00 Rachael Massey, Suzanne Broadrick, Jodi Lambert
4x400 Metres relay 3-23.81 Sydney 30 Sep 00 Nova Peris, Tamsyn Lewis, Cathy Freeman


Event Time City Date
200 Metres 23.16 Toronto Mar 93
200 Metres 22.83 Toronto Mar 93
200 Metres 22.73 Toronto Mar 93
200 Metres 22.64 Barcelona 11 Mar 95
200 Metres 22.64 Barcelona 11 Mar 95



  1. ^ "Melinda Gainsford-Taylor". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  2. ^ Dagwell, Todd (2 September 2008). "Little athletes called". News Limited. Penrith Press. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  3. ^ "Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia (A-L)" (PDF). 2017 Australia Day Honours List. Office of the Governor-General of Australia. 26 January 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2017.