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Warne, Clarke named Sport Hall Of Fame legends

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Shane Warne and Ron Clarke, revered in their sports as all-time greats, are the latest Sport Australia Hall Of Fame members to be made legends.

The honour comes nine months to the day since Warne’s shock death from a heart attack, aged 52.

He joined the Hall Of Fame in 2009 and became eligible for legend status this year, 15 years after his retirement from Test cricket.

Clarke was among the 120 inaugural Hall Of Fame members in 1985 and has been called the best track and field athlete not to win an Olympic gold medal.

Warne’s honour comes nine months to the day since his shock death from a heart attack, aged 52. Photo: Getty

Warne revolutionised leg-spin bowling and was Test cricket’s leading wicket taker, with 708, until Sri Lankan Muthiah Muralidaran passed him.

His delivery that bowled Mike Gatting in the first Test of the 1993 Ashes series, known as the ball of the century, heralded Warne’s arrival as a superstar of the game.

Warne is in the sport’s pantheon and joined Don Bradman, Viv Richards, Jack Hobbs and Garfield Sobers as Wisden‘s top cricketers of the 20th century.

Perhaps befitting Warne’s larrikin personality, he was the only one of the five not to be knighted and he also never captained the Test team.

His death in Thaliand from a suspected heart attack came on the same day fellow Australian cricketing great Rod Marsh died.

Warne’s death rocked world sport and the Victorian was honoured with a state memorial service at the MCG, where the Great Southern Stand was renamed in his honour.

Ron Clarke, pictured left running in the 10,000 metres at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, has been called the best track-and-field athlete never to win an Olympic gold medal. Photo: Getty

An early sign of Clarke’s abilities came when, aged 19, he was picked to light the flame at the Melbourne Olympics opening ceremony.

Also in 1956 he was part of an iconic moment in Australian sporting history, when John Landy stopped to help him after Clarke fell during the Australian mile championship.

A statue on Melbourne’s Olympic Boulevard, called Sportsmanship, commemorates the incident.

Clarke is a distance running legend who broke 17 world records over a number of distances on the track.

Set 12 world records in Europe during 1965

In a 44-day tour of Europe during 1965, Clarke set 12 of those world marks.

His best Olympic result was bronze in the 10,000m at the 1964 Games and he won four Commonwealth Games silver medals.

Clarke nearly died when he collapsed from altitude sickness after finishing sixth in the 10,000m at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

A few days later, he recovered sufficiently to compete in the 5000m heats, but he suffered permanent heart damage.

Czech distance running immortal Emil Zatopek gave him one of his Olympic gold medals in 1966, saying “you deserve it”, and Clarke regarded it as one of his most prized possessions.

Clarke, who was mayor of Gold Coast from 2004-12, died after a short illness in 2015 aged 78.

Warne and Clarke were announced as legends ahead of a TV special on Thursday night, when the Hall Of Fame annual Don and Dawn awards will be announced.

This year’s nine Hall Of Fame inductees were announced in October.

-AAP



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