Tagged: Gavin Fingleson

Fingleson tells all about Olympic silver success

WHEN Gavin Fingleson won the silver medal with the Australian baseball team in Athens 2004, he remarkably became the only Jewish Australian athlete to have ever been on the podium in Olympic history.

“Eight years on and it’s just now that it’s really starting to emanate the true meaning of being the first Australian [Jewish] Olympic medalist,” Fingleson says.

“It’s only really now — not even Beijing — that it kind of sinks in.”

Australian silver medalist Gavin Fingleson in action with the national baseball team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Photo: ESPN Cricinfo

Fingleson, who will turn 36 in October this year, was part of the squad that lost to Cuba 6-2 in the final and looks back on the event as one his greatest achievements of all time.

“It’s not something you can put into words,” Fingleson says.

“I’d been around a little bit and played of lot of professional baseball before that, [so] I could separate from enjoying the media and the spectacle and then come game time, that’s it.”

The whole event was something Fingleson will never forget, but the two moments that will never leave his heart were the opening and medal ceremonies.

“I cried at the opening ceremony and I cried on the podium,” Fingleson says.

“And the next time I cried about it was actually three weeks ago when my five year-old son asked to watch the video of me playing baseball.”

The South African-born baseball player moved to Australia when he was 11-years-old, but started playing the sport in South Africa when he was five.

“When I came over it was soccer and baseball,” Fingleson says. “I had to choose between the two sports … [and] it was a big choice for me at that point.

“Baseball was always my first love and I did love soccer, but baseball at that point I thought I could go further in and I was better at it.”

Finglseon played with several teams in the national league and also represented Australia at the 2006 World Baseball Classic and the 2007 Baseball World Cup.

He also had stints as the fielding coach for NSW and Sri Lanka, but most recently moved back to Sydney with his family to work as a personal trainer.

“It was time to spend some time with my family and just open up a new chapter [in my life],” Fingleson says.

“We’ve got a good family network here, so I’m a happy boy.”