Carol Gianotti will become a member of her third hall of fame in the sport of tenpin bowling after the Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) announced she would be one of three inductees for the 2020 Hall of Fame class.
A pioneer for Australian women in the sport, Gianotti became the first Australian to enter the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2016, she would enter the Tenpin Bowling Australia Hall of Fame.
In 2020, Gianotti will become the first Australian to enter the PWBA Hall of Fame to complete a decade of recognition from the major bowling bodies in the world. USBC president, Chad Murphy, who is responsible for the relaunch of the PWBA tour was the one that provided the good news to Carol.
“That phone call I will remember for a long time!” said Gianotti. “The first words were congratulations, you can call yourself a hall of famer – I could not believe it!”.
“I am so grateful and honoured” said a delighted Gianotti. “It is a dream come true to me. It just tops off my whole career being a professional bowler. It’s the highest honour you can achieve”.
Gianotti will be joined by Carolyn Dorin- Ballard and Pam Buckner in forming the class of three to enter the PWBA Hall of Fame in 2020. All three players were selected in the Performance category from the PWBA Hall of Fame committee.
The criteria for induction into the PWBA Hall of Fame under the performance category requires members to be at least 50 years of age and boast a minimum of 10 PWBA Tour titles or a minimum of five PWBA Tour titles including two majors.
Gianotti ticks all the boxes.
Entering the PWBA scene in 1989 at the age of 21 years old, Gianotti would have instant success after winning her first title and major in her first appearance on tour. The event was the 1989 USBC Queens, the most prestigious major on the women’s pro tour.
“Every title meant a lot to me but I will never forget winning that first major” said Gianotti. “From there I knew I could compete with the best and hopefully become one of the best one day”.
A second major title was claimed in 1996 at the Sam’s Town Invitational.
“I was very fortunate to be able to go over there and be very successful straight away. I did not look back from day one- a joy of competing, to do this as a full time job, in a sport that I loved”.
A professional career that spanned from 1989 to 2000, Gianotti would end her career with 16 PWBA titles paired with a multitude of individual awards along the way.
“My experience with the PWBA tour was wonderful – All I wanted to do was to compete at the highest level and the PWBA gave me that opportunity to do that. The ladies on tour really welcomed me and gave the support I needed, I felt like part of the family out there”.
Born and raised in Perth, Western Australia (WA), Gianotti has an impressive bowling pedigree. Her mum Jan represented Australia and WA as did father Bruno, and siblings Robyn and Mark both had distinguished bowling careers.
Gianotti embarked on her journey in the sport at the age of 10 years old after AMF Morley was built next door to her family house in 1977.
“That’s what really got me started. The bowl was right next door, I didn’t have far to travel and I could go there anytime I wanted and just bowl,” said Gianotti. “I knew right from the start that this was something that I could do pretty good. I was very fortunate it came very natural to me… I started bowling at the centre before it opened!”
Her rise up the pathway to success was swift. A year after starting the sport, Gianotti would make her first WA President’s Shield team at 11 years old, her first Rachuig appearance at 14 years old and winning the Australian Junior Masters in 1984.
“These opportunities is where it all started for my young career. It paved the way for me to learn, compete and enjoy this wonderful sport” explained an appreciative Gianotti. “If it wasn’t for the support of Australian bowling governing body I would not have had the successful career as I had. I always feel grateful of where I have come from with the support and help they gave me”.
Following her masters victory, Gianotti would realise her dream of representing her country in international competition in 1985 at the Asian Youth Championships. A bowler known to have instant success, Gianotti would not disappoint by claiming 1 gold and 3 silver medals on debut. The beginning of a large collection of medals wearing the green and gold multiple times. A real highlight included representing Australia in the 1988 Olympics, a highlight of her career leading into the PWBA.
“I had achieved everything I could do at the highest level in Australia and won overseas as well” explained Gianotti. “I wanted to learn and compete with the best in the world and that was leaving my family who supported me to achieve my goals, I needed to see if I could make it on the big stage– I did not look back”.
Tenpin Bowling Australia CEO Cara Honeychurch commented on how Gianotti has been a pioneer for women bowlers in this country from her bold ambitions on the PWBA tour.
“Carol paved the way not only for other Australians to join the professional tour but for women from all over the world. When you see women competing today from all corners of the globe in tournaments such as the US Open or Queens that year’s ago were largely contested by Americans, Carol can take much of the credit for this.”
After persistent encouragement from Gianotti, Maxine Nable and Cara Honeychurch decided to follow in the footsteps of Gianotti in 1999 and embark on their journey in the PWBA tour.
“I certainly wouldn’t have ventured to the PWBA if it weren’t for Carol and I will forever be grateful for the encouragement she gave me and many others to dare to dream. Australian bowling will forever be indebted to Carol Gianotti for the pathways that she has created for the bowlers of today and the future,” Honeychurch said.
The dedication and presence in the sport continues to this day as Gianotti manages the Western Australian venue of ZONE BOWLING Joondalup, a role she has adopted since 2005 managing bowling venues.
“The tour folded in 2005 which was very disappointing because I was not ready to stop bowling. I loved it out on tour- the competiveness, meeting so many people and travelling around doing what I loved” said Gianotti.
Why remain in the sport after all these years?
“I’m still involved because I love the sport!” answered Gianotti. “The ability to meet so many different people that have the same passion and pass on what I have learnt – I would like to see other bowlers get the same opportunities that I was given and worked hard at to achieve”.
“I have always said I have been very fortunate to get the opportunity to do what I love to do and that is to compete, be successful and to meet so many great people along the way”.
The PWBA Hall of Fame ceremony will take place on the 13th May in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the 2020 USBC Queens. A fitting location to come full circle and recognise a legend of our sport where it all started in 1989.
Visit www.PWBA.com for more information on the PWBA and the PWBA Hall of Fame.