Marina Sulicich

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Marina Sulicich’s extraordinary ability as a gymnast caught the attention of Broken Hill gymnastics coach Ollie Maywald while she was still in primary school, taking classes at the local YMCA. Marina was soon training at the Broken Hill Gymnastics Club and competing at state and national level, becoming the under-14 South Australian champion and, in 1976, winning the Australian Under 14 National Title.

The second child of Croatian-born parents Dusan and Vera Sulicich, Marina was born and grew up in Broken Hill with older brother Visko and younger sister Duska. The Sulicich children all achieved excellence: Visko was dux of Broken Hill High School and went on to become a mining engineer; Duska, a journalist, joined the Age in Melbourne. Marina became the first Australian gymnast to compete at the Olympic Games.

Marina’s career as an elite athlete moved quickly and, at the age of 12, she was competing internationally in gymnastics championships in Hawaii and New Zealand. Her performances in the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games caught the attention of the international gymnastic’s community, but it was her Broken Hill community who made it possible, fund-raising to get her to competitions.

Aged 13, Marina caught the eye of another coach, American Jim Gauch, who invited her to train at his club in California. She traveled to China to compete in 1977 and became a member of the Australian team at the 1978 Commonwealth Games, winning the Australian open National title. In 1979 she represented Australia at the World titles in Strasbourg and at Fort Worth, Texas. That year the Australian Womens’ Weekly described her as: ‘Australia’s highest hope at the World Gymnastics Championships, tiny, 14-year-old Marina Sulicich of Broken Hill has the grace, nerve, skill and charm to emulate Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci.’

In 1980, aged 16 years-old, Marina was selected for the Australian Olympic team to compete at the Moscow Games, becoming the first Australian gymnast to make the all-round individual finals. She was ranked 33rd, making the coveted top 36 gymnasts at the Games.

Marina Sulicich retired from gymnastics after the Moscow Games and caught up with her secondary school education.  She studied accountancy and started work with the Broken Hill City Council. In 1995 she married Brett Morris and now has two daughters.

Marina is on the Roll of Honour of Gymnastics Australia, which recognises outstanding performance by Australian athletes. She has also been awarded the Athletic Award of Distinction by Gymnastics Australia. When the Olympic torch visited Broken Hill In the year 2000, en-route to the Sydney Olympics, Marina lit the flame.

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