Jana Pittman has never won a gold medal at the Olympic Games.
The 34-year-old has three children, is currently studying medicine, and is a two-time world champion in the 400m hurdles. She won gold twice at the Commonwealth Games, and is one of only nine athletes internationally to win athletics world championships at the youth, junior, and senior levels.
She’s also the only Australian female to have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympics – competing in the two-woman bobsleigh event at the 2014 Winter Olympics. As you do.
But on Tuesday night’s Insight, Pittman told host Jenny Brockie, “I never hit the goal I was hoping for in my career”.
“Growing up as a child, winning gold at the Olympic Games is all I ever dreamed of… I never made it.”
When Brockie interrupted, “…but you were a world champion,” Pittman said fighting back tears, “it’s not what I wanted”.
Jana Pittman speaks to Mia Freedman on No Filter about having bulimia at the height of her career. (Post continues…)
Pittman was one of several athletes to appear on part one of Game Over, the two-part Insight special about how champions cope with life after sport.
Lauren Jackson, Barry Hall, Libby Trickett, and Matthew Mitcham were just some of the other athletes who spoke about the deeply emotional process of retiring from elite sport, but something about Pittman’s struggle with walking away from her career was particularly raw.
Unlike her fellow athletes, Pittman hasn’t officially retired. She can’t. She says no matter what, “I can’t help but think [about Tokyo]”.
"I can’t let go because that elusive gold medal never happened."