Australia at the Olympics

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Australia at the Olympic Games

Flag of Australia
IOC code  AUS
NOC Australian Olympic Committee
Website www.olympics.com.au
Olympic history
Summer Games
* with New Zealand as Australasia
Winter Games
Intercalated Games
1906

Australia has sent athletes to almost all editions of the modern Olympic Games. Australia has competed in every Summer Olympic Games, and most Winter Olympic Games, the latter each time since 1952. The Australian Olympic Committee was founded and recognised in 1895. Edwin Flack was the first athlete to represent Australia at the Olympics. He won gold in both the 800 metres and the 1500 metres, competed in the marathon and won a bronze medal in tennis doubles at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. In 1908 and 1912 Australia competed with New Zealand under the name Australasia. Australia's kit is green and gold.[1][2][3]

Australia has hosted the Summer Olympic games twice. In 1956 in Melbourne and in 2000 in Sydney finished 3rd and 4th in the respective medal counts. In the Summer Olympics since 2000, Australia has placed 4th, 4th, 6th and 10th respectively. Given Australia has a population of only around 20 million people (ranked 53rd in the world[4]) this fact is frequently cited as noteworthy by the mainstream Australia media due to a strong sporting culture.[5] Other observers have suggested this may also be a result of the generous funding the Australian Government has invested into elite sports development with the specific intention of improving performance at the Olympic games.[6][7]

Many of Australia's gold medals have come in swimming, a sport which is popular in Australia, with swimmers from Dawn Fraser to Ian Thorpe ranking amongst the sport's all-time greats. Other sports where Australia has historically been strong include:

  • field hockey, with the women's team winning three gold medals between 1988 to 2000 and the men's team winning in 2004;
  • cycling, particularly track cycling;
  • rowing;
  • equestrian events and specifically the three-day teams eventing;
  • and sailing.

Australia takes international sporting competition, particularly the Olympics, very seriously, and provides much government funding and coaching support to elite athletes, partly through the Australian Institute of Sport. Australia has been more modestly successful in the track events at the games, particularly in modern times. Historically, Betty Cuthbert is Australia's most successful track athlete with four gold medals (three in 1956 and one in 1964).

Australia did not win a medal at the Winter Olympics until 1994, but has moved higher on the medal tallies since then (ranking 13th at Vancouver 2010). This is a reflection on increased funding of Australia's Olympic Winter Games team.

Medal tables by Games[edit]

*Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.

Medals by sport (both Summer and Winter)[edit]

Sport Gold Silver Bronze Total
Swimming 57 60 61 178
Athletics 20 26 25 71
Cycling 14 18 17 49
Rowing 10 13 14 37
Sailing 10 5 8 23
Equestrian 6 3 2 11
Field hockey 4 3 5 12
Shooting 4 1 5 10
Canoeing 3 8 11 22
Diving 3 3 6 12
Freestyle skiing 3 2 2 7
Triathlon 1 2 2 5
Tennis 1 1 3 5
Weightlifting 1 1 2 4
Taekwondo 1 1 0 2
Archery 1 0 1 2
Short track speed skating 1 0 1 2
Water polo 1 0 2 3
Beach Volleyball 1 0 1 2
Snowboarding 1 1 0 2
Basketball 0 3 2 5
Boxing 0 2 3 5
Softball 0 1 3 4
Wrestling 0 1 2 3
Gymnastics 0 1 0 1
Baseball 0 1 0 1
Judo 0 0 2 2
Alpine skiing 0 0 1 1
Total 143 157 181 480

These totals do not include eleven medals won by Australians competing for the combined Australasia team in 1908 and 1912: nine by individuals, one by an exclusively Australian team, and one by a combined team.

Most successful Olympians[edit]

Name Sport Gold Silver Bronze Total
1. Ian Thorpe Swimming 5 3 1 9
2. Dawn Fraser Swimming 4 4 0 8
3. Libby Trickett Swimming 4 1 2 7
4. Murray Rose Swimming 4 1 1 6
5. Betty Cuthbert Athletics 4 0 0 4
6. Liesel Jones Swimming 3 5 1 9
7. Petria Thomas Swimming 3 4 1 8
8. Grant Hackett Swimming 3 3 1 7
9. Shirley Strickland Athletics 3 1 3 7
10. Shane Gould Swimming 3 1 1 5

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]