1928 - 1958
Russell Mockridge was rated as Australia’s finest cyclist ever, but his career path was hardly conventional. He attended Geelong College, one of Victoria’s more exclusive schools. He was a loner, lured into cycling mainly because his defective eyesight kept him out of cricket, football and ball games generally. When he turned up for his first race in Melbourne he wore a sleek white jersey, a pink hat, a handkerchief in his school colours, with the stems of his spectacles held to his temples by white tape; that outfit earned him the distinctive nickname “Little Lord Fauntleroy”. He was in turn a cadet journalist, a university student and a candidate for the Anglican ministry, and abandoned each pursuit for cycling.
What separated Mockridge from other cyclists was his mastery of all disciplines of the sport. He had his first open road race in 1947, and within months had won the Australian amateur road title and gained selection in the 1948 Olympic road team. In 1950 he won gold medals in the sprint and time trial at the Commonwealth Games; and two years later became the first rider ever to win both the amateur and professional divisions of the Paris Grand Prix. At the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 he became Australia’s first dual cycling gold medallist, with wins in the time trial and tandem (with Lionel Cox). He turned professional in 1953, won three Australian road titles and the Paris Six-Day, and rode impressively in the 1955 Tour de France. He died during the Tour of Gippsland, after a collision with a bus.
Harry Gordon, AOC historian