Famous Australian Olympic Athletes

Famous Australian Olympic Athletes

For a country with a relatively small population Australia has enjoyed some amazing Olympic success. We’ve sent our Aussie athletes abroad to all the Olympic games held in the modern era and even hosted the event twice at home. Australians have actually attended twenty-six Olympic Games and accrued a medal tally of 142 gold, 163 silver, 187 bronze and that adds up to 497 medals which puts us at eighth ranking out of all countries for medal tallies. Not too shabby considering other countries have 3-10 times our population.

Interesting Australian Fact: Australia is one of five nations to have participated in every summer Olympics of the modern era.

Most of Australia’s gold medals have come from swimming. In fact, 8 out 10 of our top Olympians are swimmers. We have a total of 188 swimming medals including 60 gold.

Ozzies Abroad takes a look at some interesting facts about some of our most famous Australian Olympic athletes. Don’t worry they’re not all swimmers and some are famous for all the wrong reasons.

Dawn Fraser

Born in 1937, Dawn Fraser is a legendary female Olympic gold medalist who won the 100m freestyle at three different Olympic Games in 1956, 1960 and 1964. Fraser has won a total of eight Olympic medals and has held thirty-nine records.Famous Australian Olympic Athletes

Fraser is one of the most famous Australian Olympic athletes also because of her antics out of the pool. Her outspoken personality and her larrikinism has put her in hot water. Fraser was named Australian of the year in 1964, the same year she was arrested at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo for stealing an Olympic flag outside the Emporer Palace, she was later released and not charged. Fraser came under fire and had to apologize for publicly saying “I’m sick and tired of the immigrants that are coming into my country” and she also told two professional tennis players to “Go back to where their fathers came from”.

A movie was made about Fraser’s life in 1979 called “Dawn”.

Cathy FreemanFamous Australian Olympic Athletes

I personally saw Cathy Freeman win the 400m at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. It’s a famous moment in Olympic history for Australia. Freeman was in the middle of the pack and then exploded out ahead at the final turn and the stadium of 110,000 spectators went crazy. It was a proud moment for Australia.
Her iconic silver, yellow and green bodysuit paid testament to her country while her red, yellow and black sprinting shoes honored her heritage of the Aboriginal people.  During her victory lap she carried both the Australian and Aboriginal flag and it was a defining moment towards reconciliation.

Freeman lit the cauldron to start the 2000 Sydney Olympics and she also created one of the games most memorable moments.

Grant Hackett

Grant Hackett is considered the best long distance swimmer that ever lived. He dominated the 1500m event for almost 10 years. He won gold at both Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. In total, he has won 10 gold medals at world championship events.

Famous Australian Olympic Athletes

Hackett was restrained on a flight between Adelaide and Melbourne in April 2016. After going to the lavatory for an extended period he came out angry and got aggressive when a passenger in front reclined his seat. After a short physical confrontation the crew stepped in and restrained him. The physical confrontation involved Hackett forcefully tweaking the passenger’s nipple. Hackett denied touching the other man’s nipple. That’s Gold!

Steven Bradbury

Steven Bradbury is one of the most remembered Olympic underdogs of all time. During the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic’s he was considered an outsider for the 1000m ice-skating sprint. One commentator said “he looked like a tortoise behind four hares”. He was coming in last place and the leading four skaters were battling for the lead. On the final turn one of the skaters slipped and caused the other three to crash. Bradbury skated straight pass the pile up of bodies to take the gold medal.

Bradbury is the first Australian to win a Winter Olympic Gold medal and his unlikely win put him on the front page of newspapers worldwide. he was put on stamps, commentated at 2006 Olympics and was a contestant on Australian TV show Dancing With The Stars. In 2007, he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his Olympic gold medal win. His victory has created a saying in Australia “Bradburied” or “Doing a Bradbury” which means having unexpected success.

Mathew Mitchum

On the subject of famous Australian Olympic athletes we need to give a shout out to Mathew Mitchum. He won gold in the 2008 Olympics for 10m Diving. He deserves a mention because he pulled off a near perfect final dive to beat Chinese diver Zhou Luxin. Mitchum is the first Australian to win a gold medal in diving since 1924. He was voted as one the most influential gay Australians in 2009 and 2010 by samesame.au.

There you Have It

It’s all about bragging rights. So now you can talk about your fellow countrymen and their successes and antics as if they were your own. So get out there Aussies abroad and represent Australia with some good stories for your friends. Don’t forget to get vocal in the comment section down below.

See Ya!










4 Replies to “Famous Australian Olympic Athletes”

  1. I thought you may have mentioned the swimmer Ian Thorpe as I think I’m right in saying he is the most decorated Aussie swimmer with 5 gold Olympic medals in freestyle, backstroke and individual medley not forgetting six gold medals in one world swimming championships.
    I always remember him coming on the scene in the 2000 Olympics, wow was he fast? Us Brits never had a chance till he retired – ha!
    There’s some great athletes named here, thanks,

    1. Thanks Simon. Yes Ian Thorpe and also Kieran Perkins deserve a mention. Both legendary swimmers. Stay tuned. We will write about them in future articles. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Reading your list of Australian Olympic Athletes, I saw Cathy Freeman listed. I remember when she won that 400m back in 2000, also…with a time of 49.11.

    But, that wasn’t her best time. In the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, GA, she ran the 400m in 48.63 which made her the sixth fastest woman of all time.


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