Susie O'Neill

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Susie O'Neill
Personal information
Full name Susan O'Neill
Nickname(s) "Madame Butterfly"[1]
National team  Australia
Born (1973-08-02) 2 August 1973 (age 42)
Mackay, Queensland
Height 1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 63 kg (139 lb)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Butterfly, freestyle
Club Commercial Swimming Club

Susan O'Neill, OAM (born 2 August 1973) is an Australian former competitive swimmer from Brisbane, Queensland, nicknamed "Madame Butterfly". She won the 200 m butterfly at the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 200 m freestyle at the 2000 Summer Olympics.[2] She trained under Scott Volkers at the Commercial Swimming Club in Brisbane. She won 35 Australian titles and holds the Australian women's record for the most Olympic medals (eight), with Dawn Fraser, Leisel Jones and Petria Thomas.[3]

After winning a gold and a silver medal in her first attendance at a competition at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, O'Neill never failed to win a medal at any international meet she attended, right up until her final Olympics in front of a home crowd in Australia. At the 2000 Australia Trials before the Sydney Olympics, she broke the 19-year-old world record of another "Madame Butterfly", Mary T. Meagher, in the 200m butterfly, but was beaten at the Sydney Games by American Misty Hyman, in an upset.

Early life[edit]

O'Neill born on 2 August 1973 in Mackay, Queensland. Her family moved to Brisbane and was she educated at Lourdes Hill College in Hawthorne.[4] Whilst at Lourdes O'Neill excelled in sport, setting school records in 50 m and 100 m butterfly, freestyle, and backstroke. She was also LHC cross country champion and set records for the 13 years 800 m in 1986 and for the 15 years 400 m in 1988 for athletics. All these records still stood as of 2011.[4]

Post swimming career[edit]

O'Neill is an ambassador for the Fred Hollows Foundation.[5] She is also ambassador for companies such as SAAB and Kellogg's, and has her own line of swimsuits that is sold in Target stores throughout Australia.[6]

She commentated at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She was the Oceania athletes' representative on the International Olympic Committee from 2000 to 2005, when she resigned her membership (and was replaced by Barbara Kendall). [7]

On 10 March 2007, O'Neill was honoured by having the temporary swimming pool in the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne named after her for the duration of the 12th FINA World Championships, the site of the swimming events.

Honours and awards[edit]

On 14 July 2000, O'Neill was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for "her significant contribution as a competitor in swimming".[8] On 1 January 2001, O'Neill was awarded the Centenary Medal for "For service to the community through health".[9] At the 1997 Australian Day Honours, O'Neill was awarded the Order of Australia Medal "for service to sport as a gold medallist at the Atlanta Olympic Games, 1996."[10]

O'Neill was named Favourite Female Sports Star at the 1998[11] and the 1999 Australian People's Choice Awards.[12]

In 2000, the State Transit Authority named a SuperCat ferry after O'Neill.

On 5 December 2002, O'Neill was inducted into Sport Australia Hall of Fame.[13] In 2012, O'Neill was elevated to become Sport Australia Hall of Fame's 34th Legend of Australian Sport.[13]

In 2009 O'Neill was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame.[14]

Personal life[edit]

She is now married to Cliff and a mother of two children, Alix (daughter)and William (son).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Susie O'Neill". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "ESPN Sydney Swimming". Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  3. ^ Australian Women Biographical Entry: O'Neill, Susie (1973-)
  4. ^ a b "Role model for women". The Catholic Leader (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane). 27 March 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Statement by Susie O'Neill, as published in The Australian Women's Weekly
  6. ^ Susan O'Neill - World Fastest, Australia's Best
  7. ^ "AOC Office Bearers and Australian IOC Members". Australian Olympic Committee website. Retrieved 13 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Susan O'Neill". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "Susie O'Neill". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Susan O'Neill OAM". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Zuk, T. "1998 People's Choice Awards". Australian Television Information Archive. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Zuk, T. "1999 People's Choice Awards". Australian Television Information Archive. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "Susan O'Neill OAM - Swimming". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "Ms Susan O'Neill OAM". Queensland Sport Hall of Fame. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mary T. Meagher
Women's 200 metre butterfly
world record holder (long course)

17 May 2000 – 4 August 2002
Succeeded by
Otylia Jędrzejczak
Preceded by
Women's 200 metre butterfly
world record holder (short course)

17 February 1999 – 18 January 2004
Succeeded by
Yang Yu
Preceded by
Swimming World
World Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year

Succeeded by
Le Jingyi
Preceded by
Samantha Riley
Swimming World
Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year

1998 – 2000
Succeeded by
Petria Thomas