Undefeated Mathieson brings home the gold

HERO’S WELCOME: (from Left) John “Jock” Chapman, Carol Orford, Christine Detter, Ashleigh Reith-Meere and Ken Evans congratulate Jack Mathieson (centre) on his five gold medals. JACK Mathieson was treated to a hero’s welcome when he arrived for his morning coffee at Nowra’s Cafe Continental on Tuesday morning.Fellow members of the Coffin Dodgers club, cafe staff and a large group of friends stood and applauded the 95-year-old local legend as he proudly displayed the five gold medals he won at the Fina Masters games in Riccione, Italy.“Winning gold medals at the world championships has been something I started to think about way back in 1981,” Jack said.“Competing against the world’s best has been the dream for a long time, when I moved up to the 95-99 age group that’s what really motivated me to do it.”With the help of his family, and accompanied by his son Lindsay, Jack undertook a logistical exercise of military proportions to travel from Nowra to the seaside Italian city of Riccione for the 14th Fina masters games held earlier this month.Treated like royalty on arrival, Jack’s gold medal performances in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke, followed by victories in the 100m and 200m backstroke, elevated him to rock star status before the games had even reached their mid-way point.“It was a great feeling being awarded the medals and looking out to see a sea of Bomaderry Swimming School caps I had given away,” Jack said.Jack’s efforts were big news in Riccione and he even had his ownfan club.“Some of the staff and fans started a fan club, that was a lot of fun,” he said.Jack’s five gold medals didn’t make him immune to quick witted jibes from fellow Coffin Dodgers members John “Jock” Chapman and Ken Evans.“He’s the oldest of the group, he was the first to receive his OBE, over bloody 80,” he laughed.Ken and Jock agreed that winning five gold medals from five events was a fantastic achievement.“He put in a massive effort with his training leading up the World Masters Championship and it’s great to see him come home with the medals,” Ken said.“Goodness knows how many medals and trophies he now has in the cabinet.”Posing for our back page photo, Cafe Continental’s owner Christine Detter said everyone was proud of Jack’s achievement.“I don’t think Nowra realises how lucky it is to have someone like Jack in the community,” She said.“To be off travelling the world, swimming and winning gold medals at a world championship event is an amazing achievement, he’s a living legend.”Christine didn’t think five gold medals would change Jack too much.“He can be a cheeky bugger at times, and you have to watch him, he’s a big character and we all love him, he’s like family to us,” she said.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.