Tamsyn Manou

Last updated

Tamsyn Manou
20080308 Tamsyn Lewis.jpg
Medal record
Women's athletics
Representing Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
World Indoor Championships
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg Valencia 2008 800 metres
Silver medal icon (S initial).svg Maebashi 1999 4x400 m relay
Commonwealth Games
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg Kuala Lumpur 1998 4x400 m relay
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg Manchester 2002 4x400 m relay
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg Melbourne 2006 4x400 m relay
World Junior Championships
Bronze medal icon (B initial).svg Sydney 1996 4x400 m relay

Tamsyn Carolyn Manou (née Lewis, born 20 July 1978) is an Australian track and field athlete and middle-distance runner, who has won a total of eighteen Australian Championships at 400 metres, 800 metres and 400m hurdles. [1]


An Australian international representative since 1994, Manou won the World Indoor Championship at 800 metres [2] in March 2008.

Personal life

Tamsyn Manou was born and raised in Melbourne, Victoria and attended Methodist Ladies' College and Caulfield Grammar School. [3] Her mother Carolyn Wright was a six time national high jump champion, while her father, Greg Lewis, was a semi-finalist in the 200 metres at the Mexico City Olympic Games.

Manou's athletics coaches have included Peter Fortune (Cathy Freeman's coach), Sebastian Coe and Daley Thompson. She married Australian cricketer Graham Manou in May 2011 [2] [4] and now competes under her married name. [5]

Athletics career

Manou emerged onto the national athletics scene in 1994, winning several events at the Australian Championships: the Under-16 100 m/200 m double and the Under-20 400 m. After these performances she was chosen, aged 15, for the 1994 Commonwealth Games as a 4 x 400 metres relay runner, though she did not eventually compete in the event. [6] Her next international selection was for the 1996 World Junior Championships in Sydney, where she won a bronze medal as part of the Australian 4 x 400 metres relay team.

In 1998, Manou moved up to the 800 metres distance, winning the National Championship and gaining a place in the 1998 Commonwealth Games team. Though she did not win a medal in the 800 m, she contributed to Australia's gold medal winning 4 × 400 m relay team. [6] She next ran internationally in the 800 metres and 4 x 400 metres relay at the 1999 World Indoor Championships in Maebashi. Here she set an Australian indoor record of 2m02.42 in her individual event and again won a medal as part of Australia's 4 x 400 metres relay team.

Leading into the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics, Manou set new personal best times for 400 and 800 metres in qualifying for the Australian team. At the Olympics, she failed by less than a tenth of a second to reach the Olympic final in the 800 metres, but ran in Australia's 4 x 400 metres relay team which set two national records.

In the years after Sydney, Manou could not improve her personal best performances and gained a reputation as an underachiever in international competitions. [7] Manou stopped running the 800 m in 2005 to focus on the 400 m and develop her speed. She competed only in the 400 m at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, where she missed making the final, and in the 4 x 400 metres relay event, where she won her third successive gold medal amidst a major controversy, as part of the victorious Australian quartet. [6]

In 2007 Manou made a return to the 800 m distance under new coach, and brother, Justin Lewis, winning the 800 m national championships, placing in several European Meetings and qualifying for the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Athletics. In Osaka she finished fourth in her heat in 2.01.21 and was again unable to make the final. [6]

Manou enjoyed a return to her very best form in early 2008, remaining undefeated over 400 m and 800 metres in Australia. [8] She ran a personal best time of 51.44 to win the national 400 metres titles and comfortably retained her 800 metres crown. [8] These performances earned Tamsyn selection in a third consecutive Australian Olympic team. [2]

At the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Championships, held in Valencia, Spain, Manou qualified for the final running an Australian record of 2m01.85 in her heat. In a tactical final, Manou broke away from perennial champion Maria de Lurdes Mutola and Ukrainian Tetiana Petlyuk to win the gold medal in a major upset. [9] Manou said "I was wondering what I was doing out there. Then I realised that I could win the race. This is amazing. I still can't believe it." [9]

Manou represented Australia at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. [2] Here she made the semi final of the 800 m and narrowly missed qualifying for the semi final of the 400 m.

At the Australian National Championships in Brisbane 2009 Manou won both the 400 m and the 400 m Hurdles. She has won a total of 18 national titles. [10]

Relay teams

Manou has won a number of international medals in the 4 × 400 m relay: [6]

Manou is also a three-time gold medal winner in the Commonwealth Games 4 × 400 m relay event.

Media career

Manou began a media career with Melbourne radio station Triple M, as part of the 'Dead Set Legends' crew, in 2005. [12]

In 2006, she appeared on the Australian television series Dancing with the Stars . Partnered by Arsen Kishishian, Manou finished third. [13]

With Jules Lund and Ryan Shelton, Manou presented the Summer Fling breakfast show across the Austereo Today Network, [14] from December 2007.

Manou and Bruce McAvaney presented the athletics track events for the Seven Network at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. [15]


In 2004, Manou posed in bikinis for Ralph magazine, prompting criticism from the media for losing focus on her preparation for the Athens Olympics. After Manou failed to progress past the heats of her individual event, the 800 metres, she and her coaches defended the photoshoot saying it was undertaken in five hours on one day and was not to blame for her result. [16]

In February 2006, Manou and fellow Australian runner Jana Pittman were involved in a public feud after the Australian athletics trials for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. [17] Pittman, in answer to a media question following her heat win, had stated she had "no competition" in Australia; Manou responded "I was standing behind the blocks [for the final] going, 'I'll give you no competition, bitch.'" in a radio interview after she won the final with Pittman finishing last. The media later described their relationship as a "catfight" and a "bitchfight." [18]

In the 29 May 2006 edition of Australian "Zoo Weekly" magazine, Manou again posed in what Nova 100 afternoon DJ's described as "incredibly racy" lingerie. In the accompanying article, Manou went into detail about her relationship with Jana Pittman and the furore caused over comments by Pittman that the team should all return their medals.

In the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics she stated she would be running against drug cheats; "I have no doubts that when I line up next week, I will look left and right and know the other girls aren't all clean”. [19]


Personal bests

400 m51.42 Brisbane, Australia 20 March 2009
400m Hurdles56.27 Brisbane, Australia 21 March 2009
800 m1m59.21 Canberra, Australia 15 January 2000
800 m indoor2m01.85 Valencia, Spain 7 March 2008

Australian Championships Record

Year400 m800 m400m Hurdles
20042 (1st Australian)
20062 (1st Australian)
20104 (3rd Australian)2

Yearly Progression

Year400 m800 m400m Hurdles

See also

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Preceded by
Toby Allen & Leanne Bampton
Dancing with the Stars (Australia) third place contestant
Season 5 (Late 2006 with Arsen Kishishian)
Succeeded by
Tim Campbell & Natalie Lowe