Raelene Boyle

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Raelene Boyle
Personal information
Birth name Raelene Ann Boyle
Nationality Australian
Born (1951-06-24) 24 June 1951 (age 65)
Coburg, Victoria
Sport Running

Raelene Ann Boyle AM, MBE (born 24 June 1951) is an Australian retired athlete, who represented Australia at three Olympic Games as a sprinter, winning three silver medals. In 1998, Boyle was named one of 100 National Living Treasures by the National Trust of Australia. Boyle was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 and is a board member of Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA).

Early life[edit]

Boyle was born on 24 June 1951, the daughter of Gilbert and Irene Boyle, in Coburg, a suburb of Melbourne. She was educated at Coburg High School in Melbourne.

Personal life[edit]

Boyle was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 and ovarian cancer in 2000 and 2001.

Boyle works tirelessly to raise community awareness about breast cancer and has been a very active board member of Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) since 1999.[1]

Boyle currently lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland with her partner Judy Wild.

Sporting career[edit]

After strong performances in the 1968 Australian Championships and Olympic trials, Boyle was selected to represent Australia at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, at the age of 16. At 17, she won a silver medal in the 200-metre sprint and placed 4th in the 100 metres. Setting world junior records in both distances of 22.73, and 11.20. The 200-metre mark lasted 12 years, before broken, the 100-metre 8 years.

Boyle competed in the 1970 British Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, where she contributed to Australia's number one position on the medal tally with three gold medals, in the 100 and 200-metre sprints and the 4 × 100-metre relay.

At the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Boyle collected two more silver medals, in the 100-metre and 200-metre sprints. In both races, she came second to East German Renate Stecher.

In 1974, at the Christchurch British Commonwealth Games, Boyle duplicated her results at the Edinburgh Games, winning three more gold medals in the same three events. Breaking the games record in the both 100 metres 11.27 and 200 metres with a 22.50 clocking.

At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Boyle finished fourth in the final of the 100-metre sprint, but was disqualified from the 200-metre-race for making two false starts.

Unfortunately, a video replay later showed that she had not false started on her first start. However, Boyle did receive the honour of acting as the flag bearer for the Australian team, the first woman to do so.

Boyle was unable to replicate her previous Commonwealth success at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, winning only a silver medal in the 100-metre sprint before withdrawing from the 200m and relay due to injury.

Boyle was selected to compete in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow but eventually withdrew from the team after a long dispute within Australian sporting circles over whether to join the USA led boycott of the Games.

Her final major competitive appearance was at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, where she won gold in the 400-metre sprint, and silver in the 4 × 400-metre relay.

Through her successful career, Boyle won seven gold and two silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, in addition to her three silver medals at the Olympic Games.

Some people consider Boyle unlucky not to have won Olympic gold as some athletes who beat her were later revealed to have legally used anabolic steroids. The IOC did not ban the use of anabolic steroids until 1975.[2] Although none of her competitors were doing anything unlawful at the time, Boyle openly refers to them as cheats.

Boyle has been very vocal about gender identity in the Olympics and controversially labelled Caster Semenya a 'Cheat' and 'Freak of Nature'[3] and referred to her as 'it'. Boyle was castigated by members of the community that deal with gender issues.[4] Following testing the IAAF concluded that Caster was a female.[5]


On 15 June 1974, Boyle was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire. Also in 1974, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation selected Boyle as the Sportsperson of the Year. In 1985, Boyle was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.[6] 25 September 1989 saw her awarded the Douglas Wilkie Medal by the Anti-Football League, for doing the least for football in the best and fairest manner. The Queen's Birthday Honours of 2007 saw her appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia. In 2013 Boyle was named in Australia's Top 100 Sportswomen of All Time.

See also[edit]


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