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Local volleyball star shares Olympic memories

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Bundaberg had the distinction of having two representatives in the side when Volleyball Team Australia qualified for the Olympics for the first time in Sydney 2000, Dan Ronan and Steven Keir.

Dan graduated from the Bundaberg State High School Volleyball Excellence production-line, while Steven hailed from Bundaberg North High.

They both helped Australia to the quarter-finals, winding up a highly commendable eighth, but Dan retired from the sport afterwards with 196 games for Australia from 1994-2000, while Steven, who is four years younger than him, played on for a few more years.

Dan, now 45 and living in Brisbane, is a solicitor and has two children, a daughter who is 12 and a son, 8, with his wife Lisa.

He said the Olympics were the obvious highlight of his glittering career.

“It was the first time Australian men’s volleyball made it to the Olympic and eighth was a good result – you always go in hoping or driving in pursuit of a medal, but to get through to the quarter-finals was a huge step for us,” Dan said.

“It was also the best effort for a debut volleyball team at the Olympics – the first to ever do it was Spain and we actually beat them in our pool game to equal their record.

“The Spain game in the pools was without a doubt one of the best moments ever – it was do or die – it was Spain and Egypt the two teams we targeted in our pool to get through.

“Then in the quarter-finals, we took a game off Italy for the first time and we pressed them in the third and the score-line of 3-1 did not reflect how close it was, and it was pretty much a medal play-off.

“Of course, the opening and closing ceremonies were also highlights – to get to be part of that at a home Olympics was something not many get that opportunity to do and nothing is ever going to top that.

“Also the general atmosphere around Sydney was amazing – we were in lock-down during competition and the security was pretty strict for us and to get out in the village was hard but for a number days afterwards and a number of post-Olympic events was once in a life-time – we were released and let off the chain after the closing ceremony and everyone in the city was on an absolute high.

Volleyball team Australia
Bundaberg's Dan Ronan and Steven Keir were named in the 2000 Sydney Olympics volleyball team. Photo: Australian Volleyball Team Archive

“Another highlight was having my mother and step-father Sue and Rob Huskins down there – playing overseas so much, it was one of the first times they ever got to see me play live.”

Volleyball Team Australia one of many highlights

Some of Dan’s many other career highlights included playing in a number of world championships and World League tournaments, and he would have loved to play on.

“But it was time to get a real job and I retired straight away after Sydney and moved back to Bundaberg to do my articles to become a solicitor,” he said.

Dan said with Sue and Rob, his father John Ronan, his parents-in-law Paul and Lorraine McKeone and many other relations all living in Bundaberg, he still visits here “semi-regularly” and it will always be home for him.

Steven now lives in Friedrichshafen in Germany and unfortunately, was not able to be contacted to talk about his career.

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