Jana Pittman made history in 2014 when she became the first Australian woman to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. At the time, only one other Australian athlete – Paul Narracott – had previously achieved this feat.
Pittman competed in athletics at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games. In 1999, she was the world youth (under 18) champion in the 400m hurdles at her first major international competition. Winning the 400m hurdles at the Olympic selection trials in 2000 saw her make her Olympic debut in her home town. At the Games she placed third in her heat, missing a semi-final berth by one spot. She also contested the 4x400m relay heat with the team placing fifth in the final.
At the 2003 World Championships, Pittman clocked a personal best time of 53.22 in the 400m hurdles to win gold, becoming the youngest 400m hurdles World Champion in history (male or female) at the time. Going into the 2004 Athens Olympics, Pittman suffered a tear in her right knee during a warm-up. An initial MRI indicated her campaign could be over, but a second opinion and an operation in London put her back on track just 15 days later. At the Games Pittman produced an admirable performance to finish fifth.
In 2006, Pittman retained her Commonwealth titles from 2002 with an emphatic win in 53.82 and her role in the gold medal-winning relay team. Just months after giving birth, Pittman returned to competition and at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka she claimed her second world crown (53.31). Injury derailed both her 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic campaigns.
At the end of 2012, Pittman teamed up with her former hurdles training partner, Astrid Radjenovic (Loch-Wilkinson) to train for the women’s bobsleigh at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Pittman was selected to be Radjenovic’s brakewoman and the pair finished 14th. Pittman declared she was keen to compete again in 2018 if there was a suitable pilot as well as considering a return to the athletics track for Rio 2016.