Hubert Opperman: Cycling

Sir Hubert Ferdinand “Oppy” Opperman, OBE (29 May 1904 – 18 April 1996) was an Australian champion racing cyclist, R.A.A.F. officer, successful politician and diplomat. He was world-renowned for his long-distance cycling during the 1920s and 1930s. He started riding his bicycle at the age of eight, riding as a Herald copyboy and won several local competitions. He only stopped riding during his 90th birthday when his wife forced him to stop for his physical condition and wellbeing.

Greatest Sporting Achievements

Europeans voted him Athlete of the Year when he competed at the 1928 Bol d’Or, in which two of his bicycles broke forcing him to ride his translator’s bike until repairs were made. Opperman won the Paris-Brest-Paris event in 1931, a non-strop 1,160-kilometer race. During his entire professional career, he broke several records including Land’s End-John o’Groats 2d 9h 1m in 1934, the 1000-mile record in 3d, 1h and 52m and setting the 24-hour record with 461.75-miles in 1935 and breaking London-Bath-London with 10h, 14m, 42s. Hubert Opperman set 100 distance records in a 24-hour race at Sydney in 1940. Several of his records were not broken until decades later. He won all manner of competitive cycling including the Blue Riband for the fastest time thrice in the famous Warrnambool to Melbourne Classic and being the fastest rider in the Goulburn to Sydney Classic.

Why Was He So Good?

Oppy was a wonderful sportsman. He had excellent talent who captured the supreme human qualities and articulated it superbly, becoming a worldwide character and a foundation of inspiration for his countrymen. He became a hero in Europe where riding bikes where huge, and they have never forgotten about him. Through willpower and commitment, Hubert Opperman the gift of a sporting gift into something substantial and solid that permitted him to build his own mountain in his country.

What You May Not Know

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