Dawn FraserAO, MBE (born 4 September 1937) is an Australian champion swimmer and former politician. She is one of only three swimmers to win the same Olympic event three times – in her case the 100 metres freestyle.
Within Australia, during her swimming career she was often known for her controversial behaviour and larrikin character as much as for her athletic ability. She 'outgrew' that reputation as evidenced by the many honours she has received since her competitive swimming career ended. See Honours.
Fraser won eight Olympic medals, including four gold medals, and six Commonwealth Games gold medals. She also held 39 records. The 100 metres freestyle record was hers for 15 years from 1 December 1956 to 8 January 1972.
In October 1962, she became the first woman to swim 100 metres freestyle in less than one minute. It was not until 1973, eight years after Fraser retired, that her 100m record of 58.9 secs was broken.
During the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Fraser angered swimming team sponsors and the Australian Swimming Union (ASU) by marching in the opening ceremony against their wishes, and wearing an older swimming costume in competition because it was more comfortable than the one supplied by the sponsors. She was accused of stealing an Olympic flag from a flagpole outside Emperor Hirohito's palace from the Kōkyo. She was arrested but released without charge. In the end she was given the flag as a souvenir. However, the Australian Swimming Union suspended her for 10 years. They relented a few months before the 1968 Games but by then it was too late for Fraser, at 31, to prepare.
She would later deny swimming the moat to steal the flag, telling The Times in 1991: "There's no way I would have swum that moat. I was terrified of dirty water and that moat was filthy. There's no way I'd have dipped my toe in it."