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Australia at the Olympics

Australia is one of the strongest competitors in the Olympic Games, and is one of five countries to have been represented at all Summer Games (the others are Greece, Great Britain, France and Switzerland). Australia has not always participated under their own flag - they participated in 1908 and 1912 as part of a combined Australasia team with New Zealand. Australia have also hosted the Summer Olympic Games twice - in Melbourne 1956 and Sydney 2000, and will again host the event in Brisbane 2032.

Australia's first time to join the Summer Games was in 1896 Athens when they sent a single athlete, Edwin Flack, who took home two gold medals from Athletics. That was one of the strongest outings of Australia at the Olympics. The next Summer Games held in Paris, France, they sent a total of three athletes who took home a total of five Olympic medals. Swimmer Frederick Lane took the gold for both 200 meter freestyle and obstacle event. Runner Stan Rowley took the bronze for 60, 100 and 200 meters.

From that point on, Australia have sent a delegation to the Summer Games under its own flag except for 1908 and 1912 wherein they were part of the Australasia delegation. Australian athletes have consistently brought home Olympic honors except in 1904. Australia has even hosted the Games multiple times (1956 and 2000) and their athlete remains one of the forces to be reckoned with in many events.

Australian pole vaulterAustralian pole vaulter

Australia has also been a consistent participant in the Winter Games. They first joined in 1936, missed the 1948 Games and have never missed a single meeting since then. Australian Winter athletes did not fare as well as the Summer Games and their first Winter Games honors came in 1994 when their short track speed skating team took the bronze in the men’s 5000 meter relay in Lillehammer, Norway. Their first gold in the Winter Games came in 2002 when skiers Steven Bradbury and Alisa Camplin dominated the men’s 1000 meter short track speed skating and freestyle skiing respectively in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States.


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