February 15, 2018
Triple Olympian Louise Bawden has announced her retirement from international beach volleyball competition at the age of 36.
Bawden’s career spanned over 20 years when as a 17 year old she moved from her home in Melbourne to Canberra to join the indoor Volleyball program. Two years later Louise appeared at her first Olympics, Sydney 2000 as part of the Australian indoor team that finished ninth.
Nine years later Bawden switched to beach Volleyball and the transition was smooth and successful making the 2012 Olympic team for the London games with Becchara Palmer.
Shortly after London, Bawden teamed up with Australia's first indigenous beach volleyball Olympian Taliqua Clancy. The pair taking out the 2014 Asian Championships and after great success on the FIVB world tour found themselves representing Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics finishing a very credible 5th going down in a thrilling quarterfinal to the eventual Bronze Medalists from the U.S.A Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross.
Bawden’s career highlights include:-
91 World Tour events and 397 World Tour matches over a 10 year Beach Volleyball career
3 x Olympian (Sydney 2000 – Indoor Volleyball, 2012 London and 2016 Rio – Beach Volleyball)
5th in Rio Olympics
5th in 2015 World Championships Beach Volleyball
3 x Asian Champion (2014, 2015, 2017)
Volleyball Australia head women’s coach Simon Naismith said “ Louise’s career has set a 'legacy footprint in the sand' of Australian Beach Volleyball.”
“She is a great example that commitment and hard work can provide a pathway for young Australian women to represent our country at the Olympics Games and beat the best teams in the world in Beach Volleyball.” said Naismith
“Louise was highly respected by her peers on the FIVB World Tour for her power hitting, her athletic ability and fighting character on the court over her 10 year career."
President of Volleyball Australia Craig Carracher in paying tribute said the sport owes Bawden a tremendous debt of gratitude.
“Louise is a true champion on and off the court and the most accomplished volleyball athlete I have had the pleasure of engaging with.” said Carracher.
“Louise has not only inspired athletes and young Australians but her performances have also inspired everyone in our sport to achieve more and to do more.”
Volleyball Australia Chief executive Andrew Dee added “Louise has been an outstanding athlete both on the court and on the beach, but more than that she has been an exceptional leader and role model for our sport in Australia and around the world”
“On behalf of all the Australian volleyball community I congratulate Lou on a wonderful career, thank her for the contribution she has made to our sport and wish her every success in her life after volleyball”
Louise has released the following statement:
After more than 20 years in volleyball it is with more than a touch of sadness that I share my decision to retire from international competition.
I have been extremely blessed that my involvement in both indoor and beach volleyball has lead me to three Olympic Games, multiple World and Asian Championship tournaments and countless tours across the globe.
While my career was not defined by the elusive gold medal, I am extremely proud of the progress I made as an athlete, the standards I held myself to, my commitment to learn and the reputation I built internationally as a hard worker and a fighter on the court. I was blessed to represent Australia on more occasions than I can count, and I did so to the very best of my ability. I will forever be grateful for the experiences and memories made.
Of course, none of that would have been possible without the investment of some important people.
Firstly, to my family - for all the worry, the occasions missed, the emotional, financial and physical support you have endlessly provided me with over the years, I thank you. Without a doubt, none of this would have been possible without you. In particular I recognise my parents, Karen and Greg and my husband, Casey. You have the patience of martyrs and I love you.
To the incredible coaches who believed in me, invested in me and joined me in my dream of achieving success on the world stage. I hope that over the years I have shown my gratitude, and please know that I am offering my thanks now, with recognition of the valued contribution that you all made. As much as it sounds cliche, I am reluctant to name names for fear of leaving anyone out, but I hope to speak with many of you in the near future.
To my team mates, what an incredible group of women you are! As I reflect on all the athletes I have had the privilege of working with, I am overwhelmed and in awe of the strength, dedication, resilience and compassion you have all demonstrated. Moreover, in so many of my team mates I have also found true friends, who I will, and do, share a lifelong bond that is strengthened by the journey we shared as athletes.
I am so fortunate to have crossed paths with so many wonderful volleyball players (both male and female!). Thank you all for caring for me as a player and as a person, I deeply appreciate the impact you have had on my life. It made the ride all the more worthwhile.
It has been a journey of joy and passion, immense challenge and growth. In this sport I have lived a life of great interest and diversity, where I have relished the opportunity to travel, meet new people and enjoy cultural experiences I would never have dreamed of. I have pushed my body and mind to new limits and I am so grateful for the empowerment and confidence that provides me with as I move forward in life.
Thank you, to every supporter, every competitor, every contributor. I hope you find what I have found. That it is all worthwhile.