A Commonwealth Games medal or a Member of the Order of Australia Medal: in themselves they are just pieces of metal.
The achievements they represent are what really matters, according to Ballarat’s newest AM, Steve Moneghetti.
Mr Moneghetti, 51, was appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia as part of this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list for “significant service to athletics as a marathon runner, administrator and mentor to young athletes”.
He said his long involvement in sport had given him enormous satisfaction, and the honours which have occurred along the way were merely a bonus.
“A medal is just a piece of metal. If you put a Commonwealth Games medal on someone’s neck it’s good for a ‘selfie’ but it doesn’t mean anything at all unless you’ve earned it,” Mr Moneghetti explains.
“When I look at a medal, I think of all the hard work and training that it represented. It is the same with this. The AM medal is a piece of metal but I do think about all things that have happened over the journey.
“While some people remember me as an elite competitor, for the past 15 years I have been involved in community running events. I’d like to think that continued involvement has encouraged what has been a real surge in recreational running. I don’t go into it trying to deliberately influence, I just like to get involved.
“I see (the Queen’s Birthday honours) as recognising people who are unsung contributors to the community. I guess I’m in a different category to that. I’ve had plenty of recognition. So feel a bit guilty so many don’t get the recognition, whereas I have.”
Mr Moneghetti was a four time Olympian, and won a gold medal at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in the marathon, silver in 1990 and bronze in 1986 and 1998. He also won a bronze medal in the marathon at the athletics World Championships in Athens in 1997 and is a three time winner and record holder in the Sydney City to Surf.
His many administrative and ambassadorial roles include: Victorian Olympic Council executive board member, chairman of the Victorian Institute of Sport between 2001-2010, Ballarat YCW Harriers athletics club life member, Run for Kids Fun Run race director, Chef de Mission for the Australian Commonwealth Games team in 2010 and 2014, and 2006 Victorian Father of the Year.
“I was the last person picked for the Commonwealth Games in 1986. I have no doubt about that,” he says. “At Glasgow, as Chef de Mission, I was quite literally the first picked. Who could have imagined that back in 1986?