From high school teacher to international official, Goulburn resident Steve Dunn has enjoyed a remarkable seven year journey which culminated at the Commonwealth Games over the last two weeks.
Dunn described the experience as “fantastic”, and said that it was particularly inspiring to listen to the support for the Australian athletes.
“The atmosphere was just amazing,” he said.
“The atmosphere in the stadium each night, particularly when the Aussies were competing and succeeding, was just phenomenal.
“35,000 people every night just screaming for the Aussies, it was just fantastic.
“You can imagine why Australians do so well on home soil.”
Dunn, who is a teacher at Mulwaree High School, began officiating athletics at school carnivals roughly seven years ago.
“Through organising the school carnivals there, I was invited to go along to the Combined High School State Carnival, and just started helping out there and worked my way through the levels,” he said.
Despite his relative inexperience, Dunn said that he did not feel any pressure while he was working at the games.
“Myself and the team I worked with approached each event like it was a normal carnival,” he said.
“We tried to ignore the fact that there were Aussies competing. We just had to block that out and do the best you could on each event and be impartial and be fair.”
The lack of pressure freed Dunn up to enjoy officiating, and he said that many of his personal highlights included being in close proximity to many of Australia’s winning athletes.
“I didn’t get to officiate on many major events where there were Aussies succeeding,” he said.
“I think it was the women’s shotput, when Brandon Starc was on high jump and he won the high jump event.
“We were right next to it doing the shotput, and the noise from the crowd was just fantastic.
“Watching Katheryn Mitchell win the javelin, that was unbelievable, and Dani Stevens winning the discus.”
In particular, Dunn was thrilled to watch Goulburn athlete Kyle Cranston perform admirably.
“I had the opportunity to officiate on two of Kyle Cranston’s events, discus and javelin,” he said.
“It was fantastic to see a local go so well at the games.”
To achieve the heights of officiating at the Commonwealth Games has also required Dunn to overcome some significant hurdles, the hardest of which was the immense travel schedule which has taken him all over Australia and away from his family.
“The biggest challenge for me is the fact that I live in a regional area and having to travel to places like Sydney or Canberra to do major competitions,” Dunn said.
“I’ve done a lot of travelling all over Australia … so I guess the biggest challenge has been travel and having to leave my family to do all of this.”
Despite the challenges, the reward of officiating at the Commonwealth Games has inspired Dunn to continue working on his officiating credentials, and he said that he would like to aim for the World Championships or even the Olympics in the future.