Tuesday, 12 February 2019
San Remo Channel Challenge, Gordon, Mr Michael
The inaugural Michael Gordon trophy was to be presented last Saturday at the end of the San Remo Channel Challenge. Michael died tragically on 3 February last year whilst competing in the Cowes classic. I don't think anybody can say it better than it's been said here. Michael was the inaugural winner in 1985 as a 30-year-old. We knew him as The Age journalist. His wife, Robyn Carter, was there on Saturday; his son, Scott, was there; his daughter was there; and young Harry was there also. Michael's involvement in the San Remo Channel Challenge over a period of three decades is being perpetually celebrated through a memorial trophy that has been struck in his honour, to be presented annually to the winner of the men's senior open category at the event.
Event organiser Ron Nicholson, of the Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club, was fond of catching up with Michael for a cold beer and a chat after each event. He feels that the memorial trophy is a way for his friends from this aspect of his life to celebrate the very fond memories they all have of a quietly spoken mate with a warm smile, a fellow traveller of the sea with a big heart. All friends and fans of Michael's were welcome to join the celebration of his memory at San Remo last Saturday. The tragic part was that it was cancelled due to shocking weather. As Ron Nicholson said, 'A third of you will swim this quite well. A third of you will struggle. The rest will have to be rescued.' There were 600 competitors who were about to go across the water.
Not a day goes by when I don't think of Michael. That's known. But Michael was a huge competitor. I'm looking at a photo from when we laid a wreath for him last year at this particular event. He was a great competitor. It was lovely to see his family there. Scott had about 30 of his mates there with him to swim in this race last Saturday. It was very disappointing for all of them that they weren't able to compete, but they're going back there on 9 March, when the event will be repeated and the trophy will be delivered to the winner of the men's senior event.
Michael was a lover of people. The last time I saw him, he was moving amongst the crowd of swimmers before the event at Cowes with this huge smile because he was back in his place of comfort and pleasure with his mates all around him. And Bron said, 'Pull over and talk to him.' I said, 'I can see him later,' but I didn't get to see him later. Michael, you will be commemorated in this memorial trophy for the San Remo Channel Challenge.