Olympic Games Fast Facts

2016 Rio Olympics - Women's 4X100m Freestyle Gold


  • Fred Lane won Australia’s first and second ever swimming gold medals at the Olympic Games in Paris in 1900. The first was in the 200m freestyle and the second the 200m obstacle race.
  • Fanny Durack was the first women to represent Australia at the Olympic Games, winning gold in the women’s 100m freestyle in Stockholm in 1912.
  • Australia’s first ever Olympic swimming relay gold medal came in 1912 when Cecil Healy, Harold Hardwick and Les Boardman joined up with Malcolm Champion from New Zealand for an Australasian victory.
  • Australia, competing with New Zealand as Australasia won six medals at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games – two gold, two silver, and two bronze medals, all in the pool.
  • Frank and Lily Beaurepaire became the first siblings to represent Australia at an Olympic Games in swimming when they both competed in Antwerp, 1920. Lily the younger of the two was the only woman on the swim team.
  • Clare Dennis became Australia’s second ever female swimming gold medallist at an Olympics, and first in the form strokes, winning the 200m breaststroke in Los Angeles in 1932.
  • John Davies was Australia’s first ever male breaststroke medallist at an Olympic Games, winning gold in the 200m in Helsinki in 1952. It was Australia’s only medal in the pool.
  • Australia won eight gold, four silver and two bronze medals in the pool at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. It is still the most successful Olympics for the Australian Swim Team ever.
  • At the time, Rome in 1960 was Australia’s most successful overseas Olympic Games with five gold medals before Shane Gould and the rest of the Australian team tore up the pool in Munich in 1972 for six gold medals overall.
  • Siblings John and Ilsa Konrads were both medallists at the 1960 Rome Olympics with John winning the 1500m freestyle and bronze in the 400m free and 4x200m freestyle relay, while Ilsa teamed up with Dawn Fraser, Lorraine Crapp and Alva Colquhoun to win silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
  • Robert Windle became the third Australian in as many Olympics to win the 1500m freestyle in Tokyo in 1964, following on from John Konrads (Rome 1960) and Murray Rose (Melbourne 1956).
  • Kevin Berry won Australia’s first ever butterfly gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics taking out the 200m fly in a world record time of 2:06.6.
  • Michael Wenden became the first Australian to win gold in the 100m and 200m freestyle at an Olympic Games in Mexico 1968.
  • The 1972 Munich Olympics saw Shane Gould became the first female Australian swimmer to win three gold medals, taking out the 200m and 400m freestyle and 200m individual medley.
  • Stephen Holland was Australia’s only swimming medallist at the 1976 Munich Olympics, coming third in the 1500m freestyle, behind Americans Brian Goodell and Bobby Hackett.
  • Michelle Ford was Australia’s only individual swimming gold medallist at the 1980 Moscow Olympics in the 800m freestyle.
  • Jon Sieben was Australia’s only gold medallist at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in the 200m butterfly.
  • Australia won just three swimming medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Duncan Armstrong won two medals, with a gold in the 200m freestyle and a silver in the 400m freestyle, and Julie McDonald took bronze in the 800m freestyle.
  • Kieren Perkins won his first Olympic gold medal in the 1500m freestyle in Barcelona in 1992 and then made it back-to-back titles with a memorable victory in the same event in Atlanta in 1996.
  • Daniel Kowalski won three individual medals at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, finishing second to Kieren Perkins in the 1500m freestyle and winning bronze in the 200m and 400m freestyle.
  • Australia’s 18 swimming medals at the Sydney Olympics (five gold, nine silver and four bronze) was Australia’s biggest ever haul until the 20 medals won in Beijing in 2008.
  • Ian Thorpe is Australia’s most successful Olympian of all time with a total of nine medals, (five gold, three silver and one bronze medal) from Sydney and Athens combined.
  • Nine of Australia’s top-ten Olympic medal winners are swimmers, Ian Thorpe, Dawn Fraser, Leisel Jones, Petria Thomas, Susie O’Neill, Grant Hackett, Murray Rose, Lisbeth Trickett and Michael Klim.
  • Three of Australia’s top four gold medal winners at Olympics are swimmers, Ian Thorpe (5), Dawn Fraser (4) and Murray Rose (4).
  • Six Australian swimmers have won three gold medals at a single Olympics, Stephanie Rice (Beijing 2008), Jodie Henry (Athens 2004), Petria Thomas (Athens 2004), Ian Thorpe (Sydney 2000), Shane Gould (Munich 1972), Murray Rose (Melbourne 1956).
  • Dawn Fraser is the only Australian swimmer to win a gold medal in the same event at three consecutive Olympic Games – the 100m freestyle, Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964.
  • Ian Thorpe and Shane Gould holds the Australian record for the most medals at an Olympic Games with five each – Thorpe from Sydney 2000 (three gold, two silver) and Gould from Munich 1972 (three gold, one silver, one bronze).
  • Australia’s youngest ever gold medallist was swimmer Sandra Morgan who won gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games – she was 14 years and six months.
  • Alicia Coutts became the third Australian of all-time to win five individual medals at one Olympic Games in London 2012, equalling Shane Gould and Ian Thorpe. Coutts won gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay, silver in the women’s 200m IM, 4x200m freestyle relay and medley relay, and bronze in the women’s 100m butterfly.

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