Sarah Tait
Personal information
Birth nameSarah Anne Outhwaite
Born(1983-01-23)23 January 1983
Perth, Western Australia
Died3 March 2016(2016-03-03) (aged 33)
Melbourne, Victoria
Height180 cm (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Weight70 kg (154 lb)
Event(s)Coxless pair (W2-)
Eight (W8+)
ClubSwan River Rowing Club
Mercantile Rowing Club
Achievements and titles
Olympic finalsBeijing 2008 W8+

Sarah Anne Tait (née Outhwaite; 23 January 1983 – 3 March 2016) was an Australian rower - a national and world champion, three-time Olympian and Olympic-medal winner. She was the first mother to represent Australia in rowing at Olympic level, having returned to international competition following the birth of her daughter.[2]

Early life

Tait was born in Perth, Western Australia, one of four children of Simon and Barbara Outhwaite.[3] She was educated at St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls in Perth.[4] She began rowing in 1997, at the age of 14.[4] Tait's first rowing success was in 2000, aged 17, when she won a silver medal in the junior women's four at the World Junior Rowing Championships in Zagreb, Croatia.[3]

Club and state rowing career

Tait's senior rowing was initially from the Swan River Rowing Club in Perth and later from the Mercantile Rowing Club in Melbourne.

She was selected in representative Western Australian senior women's eights competing for the Queen's Cup in the Interstate Regatta at the Australian Championships on nine occasions between 2001 and 2007. She stroked that eight in 2012. In 2003 she also raced in the West Australian youth eight who were victorious in contesting the Bicentennial Cup at the Interstate Regatta. This put her in the unique position of having represented in her state's senior women's eight for two years before she rowed in the youth eight.[5]

Wearing Swan River RC colours she contested national Australian titles at the Australian Rowing Championships on a number of occasions. She won a national title in coxless pair in 2005 with Natalie Beal. She contested the coxless four in 2005 and 2006 and the women's eight in composite Western Australian crews in 2005, 2006 and 2007.[5]

International representative career

Tait competed at the Summer Olympics three times, in the women's eights at the 2004 and 2008 games and in the women's coxless pair at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where she won a silver medal with Kate Hornsey.[6] At the 500m mark of their race, Tait and Hornsey were in fourth place, but moved into third at the 1000m mark. In the last 500m, the pair passed New Zealand's world champions Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh, to finish second behind Britain's Heather Stanning and Helen Glover.[7][8]

Tait won her first world championship title in the Australian women's eight at the 2005 World Rowing Championships in Gifu, Japan. At that same regatta she won a silver medal in a coxless pair with Natalie Bale.[9] Six years later she won a bronze medal in a coxless pair with Kate Hornsey at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Lake Bled.[9]

Tait was picked as captain of the Australian women's rowing team at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, and at the 2010 and 2011 World Rowing Championships.[3][10]

Three months after the 2008 Olympics, Tait became pregnant with her first child. As she was determined to compete in the 2012 Olympics, she continued to train up until the last three weeks of pregnancy, and returned to her training schedule five months after giving birth.[6] At around this time, Rowing Australia changed their policy on family visits to athletes, enabling children to visit their parents while training and competing;[6] Tait was credited with inspiring this change.[11]

Tait announced her retirement from competitive rowing on 26 February 2014, as she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer after the birth of her second child eleven months earlier. Although she had initially returned to rowing after undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, she was later advised to retire from the sport to undergo further treatment.[12]


Tait was married to national rowing coach Bill Tait and was a second cousin of rower David Crawshay. Her father, Simon Outhwaite, was an Australian rules footballer for South Fremantle Football Club.[13]

Tait died on 3 March 2016, aged 33, in Melbourne, Victoria.[14] She had been diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2013.[15]


  1. ^ "Sarah Tait profile". Australian Olympic Committee. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  2. ^ Lane, Samantha (13 May 2012). "The comeback kids: it'll be mothers' day in London".
  3. ^ a b c "Sarah Tait loses hard-fought cancer battle | Rowing Australia". 2 March 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b "ROMS | Sarah Tait". Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b Tait career at Guerin Foster
  6. ^ a b c "Australian Olympic medallist Sarah Tait dies from cancer, aged 33". The Sydney Morning Herald. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Australian rowing medalist Tait dies at 33 – RTHK". Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Rowing silver to Tait and Hornsey". Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Sarah Tait". World Rowing. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  10. ^ Tait career at World Rowing
  11. ^ "Australian Olympian dies aged 33". Stuff. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Sarah Tait retires from rowing as Olympic silver medallist continues cervical cancer battle". ABC News. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  13. ^ Silkstone, Dan (4 July 2008). "Family and football link unites two of our best".
  14. ^ "Sarah Tait, Australian rowing icon, dies of cancer aged 33". ABC News. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  15. ^ "Sarah Tait: Australia's London 2012 rowing medallist dies aged 33". BBC News. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2016.