Margo Koskelainen OAM

As a softball umpire, Margo Koskelainen she has faced many challenges, but overcome them all and been a trailblazer for women's sport.

Honour Roll

Margo took up the sport when she was 12. "A friend of my mother's, a neighbour, said she was involved and thought softball would be a good sport for me to play. And I've been at it ever since," she said.

Initially a player, she found the game "addictive," which led her to becoming an umpire. "What I like about it now is the camaraderie of umpires. Umpires worldwide have a closeness that is unique," she said.

Umpiring has been a part of Margo's life for 35 years. Her many achievements include being the first female umpire-in-chief, a world championship, awarded life membership of Softball Australia in 1993, a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2000 and being elected to the International Softball Hall of Fame in 2003. She says that one her proudest moments came at the international softball congress in Puerto Rico in 1995.

"Australia managed to convince the delegates of the playing rules commission that some of the proposals would change the game totally. There were proposed changes to the bulk of the pitching, batting and base running rules, but in the rewrite so many of the fundamentals had been left out. We were effective in having the proposals withdrawn," she said.

Living in Shepparton, Margo has overcome the tyrannies of distance to excel at her sport, and encouraged other women to chase their sporting dreams. "I think if you want to do it, you have to talk to your family and let them know that it is important to ou," she said. "I never dreamt for one minute that I would represent my country. "But I want to contribute to my sport because it has given me so much," she said.