Tiffany had also been writing for Australian Runner Magazine and freelancing for The Age and gradually a sports journalist career path emerged in radio and TV. ‘I was always passionate about sport, and without being conscious of it, I was also passionate about people’s stories. It’s only a few years ago that I realised I’m actually a storyteller. Everything I do – presenting, producing, being a journalist – is about inspiring people through storytelling – being the conduit for other people’s incredible stories.’
After a few years, there was another first. This time, though, she had to work hard to make it happen. In 2002, Tiffany became the first female AFL boundary rider when she joined the new Fox Footy channel.
‘I was very naive when I started in sports journalism. I thought everyone was just fabulous. Then I was told I couldn’t work in football because I hadn’t played the game. But because of my background, I knew how to explain in layman’s terms what injuries had occurred. I saw that as an opening, and that I could make something of it. It was very hard to convince them but my persistence paid off. I just didn’t give up. I’d jam my big toe in their door over and over again.’
As her career as a journalist developed, Tiffany reshaped her goal of making it to the Olympics. She would go as a presenter, and no one was going to steal that dream. She brought to the table all her experience and drew on the traits of a good hurdler – persistence, being able to strategise, resilience. In 2012 she hosted the London Olympic Games for Foxtel.
‘Achieving that goal after all those years was unbelievable – when I sat back and reflected, it was the journey that was amazing,’ she says. ‘That was the wonder of it all – the trials and tribulations, the people I’d met along the way. Everything that makes life worth living. It’s true, what they say, it’s the journey that counts.
‘My dad would say to me, “Before you walk through your next door, just take a look back.”’
Behind the TV screen, Tiffany found some things increasingly difficult to deal with. ‘In television, so much politics goes on and you can’t really control that. Often a way of potentially controlling it – or lessening the impact – is to fall into line with what’s going on. I wasn’t prepared to toe those political lines.
‘In the early days of being involved in sport, I thought it was important to be part of the boys’ club. Then I saw the double standards wherever I looked.