Event: 20km Walk
Olympic History: Tokyo 2020
Highlights: Gold 2018 Commonwealth Games 20km Walk and Olympic selection
Coach: Brent Vallance
Year Born: 1998
State Born: East Melbourne, VIC
A strong community-minded and busy person, race walker Jemima Montag strives for a well-balanced life.
While studying science at Melbourne University and until recently, working at a company who deliver food to underprivileged families, she is also an elite athlete in race walking, which requires many hours of weekly training.
Montag started her sport in Little Athletics at Brighton in the under 8s, and after struggles with events like jumps and throwing, realised she had slow twitch muscles and found her way into the technical endurance event of race walking.
Aged 16, she made her first appearance for Australia, in the junior event at the World Race Walking Cup.
Just after her twentieth birthday, she made her Australian senior debut at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where she would compete in just her third 20km walk.
Montag went on to win gold by a comfortable 88 seconds, an achievement she considers as her most memorable sporting achievement. This was followed by two outstanding performances in 2019, silver at the World University Games and tenth at the world championships – the highest place in this race by an Australian woman for 20 years.
Montag credits her grandparents, who are holocaust survivors for her work ethic and resilience. She says that when a training session or race feels tough, she thinks about them and reminds herself – “grit and perseverance are in my DNA.”
In February 2020, Montag secured selection for Tokyo, winning the nomination trial and Australian Championship in Adelaide and was selected in the Olympic team shortly after. Nearly 18 months later, the International Olympic Committee Young Leader made her maiden Olympic appearance in Tokyo where she placed a stunning sixth in the oppressive Japanese heat in Sapporo, clocking 1:30.39. Her sixth place was the second highest in Australian Olympic history.