From headline-grabbing Olympian to TV host: Matt Shirvington’s journey to Sunrise

David Koch introduced his successor on Monday.

Source: Seven Network 

As the sun sets on David ‘Kochie’ Koch’s time at Seven Network’s Sunrise, Monday brought the news that Matt Shirvington will replace him as co-host.

The one-time Olympian’s new role is not a huge surprise, given Shirvington has regularly stepped in as substitute host for the show since joining the network as a sports presenter in 2020.

This experience, which included a three-week stint co-hosting alongside Natalie Barr while Koch attended his daughter’s 2022 London wedding, appears to have served as a training period of sorts for Shirvington ahead of his big promotion.

Although Shirvington lacks Koch’s financial expertise, potentially meaning less focus around finance on Sunrise, he will bring almost two decades of experience being on Australian TV screens.

The road to success

Breaking records since the age of 13, Shirvington ranks as the third-fastest sprinter in Australian history.

But for some, his sporting achievements may be overshadowed by the extremely-revealing lycra outfit he infamously donned to run in the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

“Some would call it a curse, others would say it is the greatest moment in my career,” Shirvington told The Courier Mail in 2018.

“I have spent a long time trying to forget all of that but I must admit, it does come up from time to time.

“Still, my best mate’s favourite line when we are out and someone brings it up is, ‘Just remember, the camera puts on 10 pounds’.”

Matt Shirvington during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Photo: Getty

His relationship with Seven Network goes back almost two decades; before he officially retired as an athlete, Shirvington competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2004, and was a presenter on the TV show Beyond Tomorrow in 2005.

Shirvington has credited then-Foxtel executive Brian Walsh with really kickstarting his TV career.

Speaking at Walsh’s funeral in April, Shirvington said the media giant encouraged him to read sport for Sky News Australia in 2010 following his retirement from his athletics.

“I called him after my first read, which was terrible – maybe I still am – he said not [to] worry, that could all be fixed,” Shirvington said.

“He told me the road ahead comes down to three things; family, career choice and the legacy you leave. ‘Process each of those, Shirvo, and then we have a platform to shape your journey and I’ll be with you every step of the way’.”

Shirvington went on to officially join Seven as a weekend sports presenter in 2020.

He quickly became a familiar face with the network’s audience through roles such as 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games commentator, mini-golf series Holey Moley commentator, competition series Ultimate Tag host and recurring appearances on Sunrise.

The Olympic sprinter is no stranger to morning show hosting duties. Photo: Seven Network

In his personal life, Shirvington shares three children with wife, author Jessica Shirvington, after the pair fell in love aged 17.

Shirvington has admitted the couple has had their ups and downs, even breaking up on occasion, but he said they have come out the other end stronger for it.

“She went through an Olympic period in my life, where I was competing and preparing for the Olympic Games and my mood swings were massive because I lived and died by my performance,” he said.

“She worked through all of that.”

Matt Shirvington will join Natalie Barr as co-host of Seven Network’s breakfast show. Photo: Seven Network

Following the announcement her husband would be the new Sunrise co-host, Jessica Shirvington took to Instagram in celebration.

“You amaze me [Matt],” she wrote under a promotional image of Shirvington with Barr.

“Sen, Winnie, Linc and I are so proud of you.”

For his part, Shirvington said he was excited and humbled by the opportunity to co-host “such an important show”.

“It’s a privilege to follow on from Kochie,” he said.

“He leaves behind a legacy of honesty, humility and a whole lot of fun, and I can’t wait to continue adding to that.”

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