Alongside a host of New Year Honours for triathletes – Flora Duffy, Lauren Steadman and the Team GB Mixed Relay gold medal-winning team – there was another familiar multisport name being recognised with one of the highest honours available.
Professor Sarah Springman CBE will now be Dame Sarah, having been made a Dame Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire (DBE).
Pioneer, athlete, academic
One of the pioneers of triathlon in the UK, Sarah was a British and European champion many times over, as well has having a long and distinguished career in sports administration and academia.
One of the world’s most accomplished academic geotechnical engineers and a pioneer in the study of soft soil mechanics, Springman was until recently the Rector of leading Swiss University, ETH Zurich. She will shortly take over the role of Principal of St Hilda’s College, Oxford.
Having taken part in the first British Triathlon Association triathlon event in the UK (Reading, 1983), she was fifth at the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii twice (1985 and 1987), and went on to win more than 20 European Championship Elite championship medals across all formats and distances.
She has been a Board member, Chair and President of the British Triathlon Federation, has served two terms as ITU (now World Triathlon) Vice President and in 2019 was recognised with the ITU’s Lifetime Achievement award.
She also received a Lifetime Achievement recognition in 2013 at the Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Awards.
And there’s more
As if an elite triathlon record, an esteemed academic career and sports administration at British and world level was not enough, Sarah has also won medals at the British Rowing Championships, won multiple Indoor Rowing world championship titles and currently holds British records on the Concept2 indoor rower.