Saturday, 6 January 2007

Vale Ken Lorraway

Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, January 06, 2007 with 5 comments
from the Athletics Australia website
Vale Ken Lorraway (1956-2007)
Athletics Australia and the athletics community today mourn the passing of Australian and Oceania triple jump record holder Ken Lorraway, who died suddenly from a suspected heart attack yesterday.

Ken Lorraway will be fondly remembered as a feisty competitor, who has tough and stubborn, but enormously respected. He remains Australia’s best triple jumper – still holding the Australian and Oceania record of 17.46m set in London on 7 August 1982.

Ken came through the junior ranks with the North Canberra Athletic Club and then competed for Belconnen Striders until his retirement.

From 1974-78 Ken attended the Southern Illinois University in the United States on an athletic scholarship and in 1978 was selected as an All American.

In 1978 Ken competed at the Edmonton Commonwealth Games where he placed 4th in the triple jump and 8th in the Long Jump. Ken represented Australia at two Olympic Games. At the Moscow Olympics in 1980 he was a finalist in the triple jump alongside Ian Campbell, with Lorraway finishing in 8th place and Campbell 5th in a controversial final.

He also competed at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 where he did not qualify for the final and placed 6th in at the IAAF World Cup in Rome in 1981.

He won five consecutive national triple jump titles between 1980 and 1984

The highlight of Ken's career in the eyes of many track and field fans came at the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games when he won a silver medal in the triple jump with a leap of 17.54 metres (wind assisted). In a tremendous duel, former Athletics Australia head coach Keith Connor, competing for England, took out the title with a leap of 17.81m.

Ken was still actively involved in athletics, coaching junior athletes in Canberra and was regularly took up his position on the hill at the AIS track.

Ken married 1982 Commonwealth Games long jump silver medalist Robin Strong following the Brisbane Games. Robin finished 6th in the Los Angeles Olympics and formerly held the Australian record.

Ken was 50 and is survived by his beloved family - wife Robin and sons Alex (17) and Sebastian (14) and daughter Madeline (11). All are heavily involved in sport, with Alex a talented triple jumper and basketballer, likewise Seb who enjoys basketball, athletics and football and Madeline who is a talented young basketballer.

Athletics Australia extends deepest sympathies to Ken’s family.

Footnote: from the Canberra Times, Sunday 07 January. Click to enlarge.


  1. Thanks for the eulogy Geoff.
    I saw the Obit notice in The Canberra Times today.

  2. That's sad. Much too young.

  3. I new and lived with Ken in his collage years at SIU-Carbondale. I found out about this last nite from a fellow track athlete of his, Kim Taylor.

    Ken, or as we called him "Skippy was great and we laughed 20 times a day every day i was around him. He was the fastest white guy in a sprint race.

    I have to laugh as all of us who knew Ken would remeber just how messy he lived. His room was always a pig pen....we were all in awe of it.

    I last say Ken in 1989 when he flew back to Chicago for the wedding of Jerry George.

    Some of us in the States that get together and reflect on the past have notning but a smile and a laugh when we think back to him.

    He had alot of friends at SIU, I know some of them would like to sned a note of sympthy to the family but have no idea where he lives. Anyone who could forward this to me at
    i would like to pass this on.

    He had 1 friend in particular that Ken was very close , Kim Taylor from Columbus Ohio that he spent a summer living with between the school year.

    Skippy....I think of Frank Zappa, Ken smoking laying in bed in his room, a plie of clothes and pizza boxes 3 feet high. Now that I think of it, I was living with Ken at what we called the Abormal House , 30 years ago this day.

    Please let me know how to reach the family.

    Mark Black

  4. I have sent an email to Michael Thomson seeking contact info for Robin and family. If anyone else can provide it, please let me know.

    I met Ken after I moved to Canberra and joined Norths, probably 1969 or 1970. I remember him running and jumping at Ainslie oval, which is where ACT Athletics Branch competed before a move to Woden Athletics track. I remember him sitting in the stand with a fag and a fosters after his comp. Or was it before?

    And in recent years, brief conversations at Cook oval, where he was coaching his son, while our group ran intervals on the 300m track..

    An altogether friendly and outgoing person.

  5. I only got to hear about him now. Sounds like a great guy who encouraged others. I used to think I knew heaps about triple jump - It's a pity I didn't get to know this man. 17:54 is huge.

    I have full sympathies for his family.