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Top 10 Australian Athletes


 

The most popular Australian national sport is Cricket. It is a sport in which most Australians have thrived in. There also other sports such as football and Rugby that are loved by Australians.

These two are mainly played in New South Wales and Queensland, and football is more popular in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Another favourite sport in Australia is water sports. The most common is swimming and surfing. Several Australian athletes have won gold medals in the Olympics.

There is a traditional Australian sport that has been played by the Aboriginals. This game is unique in the sense that it is not competitive at all.

The game seeks to build on teamwork more. There are two of them the Goomboobooddoo which is a traditional wrestling game by families.

The other traditional game is called Buroinjin which is similar to basketball. The ball is made from kangaroo skin that is stuffed with grass.

Now that we have this background on Australian sports, let’s take a look at the Top 10 Australian athletes.

1. Margaret Court

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Margaret Court is a retired Australian tennis player. She is a former world No. 1 who won 24 Grand Slam singles titles in her career.

This was more than any other player in her time. Margaret is said to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

Margaret currently works as a religious minister in Perth Western Australia.

She became the first woman to win the singles Grand Slam during the open Era, this also made her the second woman to win after Maureen Connolly.

When it came to doubles, Margaret won 19 women’s doubles and 21 mixed double titles. She is quite a prolific sportswoman whose wins have been consistent in her career placing her among the best of all time.

Her best year was in 1973 when she set a record for most titles won in a single Grand Slam event, she had 11 Australian Open wins.

Her record was broken 46 years later by Rafael Nadal when he won the 12th French Open title. This however still places her as the only female tennis player to ever hold that record to date.

2. Heather Mckay

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Heather Blundell became a professional athlete at 17, playing both tennis and hockey.

Heather came from an athletic family. Both her parents played tennis; her father also played professional rugby. All her siblings are talented and successful sports personalities.

She chanced upon squash while on vacation in Sydney. She loved the agility of the sport and since she needed an extra-curricular sport to engage in, she picked this sport.

She believed that it would help boost her fitness level while on the hockey field.

This was her start to excellence in the sport. She has won at least 16 British Open titles consecutively. She remained undefeated in the women’s squash for the longest time.

Heather has her name in the WSF Hall of Fame for her numerous squash awards. She has also been acknowledged with the most esteemed member of the British Empire award and she was also named as an officer at the General Division of the Order of Australia in 2018.

Heather only lost two matches in her entire career of 21 years.

She is considered by many to be quite charming and has an infectious laugh, is calm and very generous with her knowledge in the sport.

3. Arthur Beetson

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Arthur Beetson was the first Aboriginal to be the captain of a national team in Australia in 1973 and 1977.

He loved rugby as a teenager and this shaped his career when he started playing professional rugby.

He played centre and sometimes the five-eight in his home-town of Roma in western Queensland.

After moving to Brisbane in 1965, he joined the big smoke and was assigned as the forward by the coach.

It is here that Arthur was able to establish himself as the best ball front-rower rugby player of all time.

He later moved to Sydney where he was contracted by Redcliffe and later on Balmain where he got coached by Harry Bath.

He played for his country in Sydney and was nicknamed ‘half-a-game Artie’ after an amazing role he played in winning against Great Britain.

He did this even while struggling with a shoulder injury.

Arthur then joined the Eastern Suburbs in 1971 and further polished his skills and led the Roosters to two premiership wins.

He also captained Queensland in 1980 at the inaugural State of Origin match. He was then named Rugby League Week’s seventh Immortal in 2003.

Arthur Beetson passed away in 2011.

4. John Eales

John Eales is another Australian athlete that plays professional rugby for the country.

He started professionally when he was 20 years old. He mastered his scrum power and mobility and was able to be part of the team that played in the World Cup.

His coach. Bob Dwyer, was impressed by his performances and ruled out him being a number 8.

Together with his teammate Rod McCall, John was able to lead their team to a win against Wales.

John earned himself the nickname, Nobody because no one is perfect.

He has had a successful rugby career that has made Australians give him lots of respect in rugby.

He won two rugby world cups, the first was in 1991 and later on as a team captain in 1999.

Arthur retired after a decade in the game. He is currently managing his sports marketing and events company; he also started a culture and leadership consultancy firm.

He has also been a board member to several organizations in Australia and is a columnist on sports in an Australian newspaper.

5. Dawn Fraser

Dawn Fraser is an Australian swimmer who was the first female swimmer to ever win gold medals in three consecutive Olympic Games.

She broke the women’s record in the 100-metre freestyle race nine times. She clocked 58.9 seconds a record that was broken 8 years later in Sydney by a fellow Australian athlete.

Dawn faced stiff competition in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo Japan. Her rival, Sharon Stouder from the United States was expected to win.

Dawn, however, beat her and won the 100 metres for the second time. She became the first athlete to win the same event three times.

She also got a silver medal in the freestyle relay and became the fourth in the 400 metres one.

Dawn got arrested in Tokyo during the Olympics for stealing a flag from the entrance of the Emperor’s palace.

She apologized and the charges were dropped. The emperor decided to gift her the flag she tried to steal.

She, however, did not have a smooth transition to retirement from the sport like most athletes. She had several unpleasant conflicts with the Australian swimming official.

She joined politics and was elected to parliament and served from 1988 to 1991.

6. Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe is Australia’s celebrated hero during the 2000 Games. He became a professional swimmer at the age of 17.

He first came to the limelight when he participated in an international competition in 1997. He came in second in the 400-metre freestyle. He was 14 years old then.

A year later, Ian won two gold medals in the 200 and 400 freestyle during the 1998 World Championships. These wins drew the media attention to him during the championships that followed.

Ian won three gold medals and two silver medals at his home-town Olympics.

In 2004, he won two other gold medals at the Athens Olympics. He had a total of five gold medals, the most that had ever been won by an Australian.

He also swam on three winning relay teams and ended up being the first swimmer to win six gold medals at a single World Championship.

Ian has 13 personal world records, although one Michael Phelps has more.

7. Cathy Freeman

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Cathy Freeman is a retired sprinter who specialized in the 400-meter race. She also competed in other track events.

She is also the first Aborigine to compete professionally in the Olympics and wave the Aboriginal flag in the sports events.

In 1997 and 1999 world championships. Cathy won the 400 meters race and this made her a favourite in the 2000 Olympics.

She was honoured in the opening event by lighting the Olympic flame in Sydney. Determined not to let down her country and hold onto her record, Cathy won the gold medal in the 400 meters race in the same Olympics.

She retired in 2003 and has been advocating for equal treatment and has been working with young Australian girls in the campaign.

She is considered as a role model for her people and is regarded as a symbol of national reconciliation between the indigenous and non-indigenous people, being an Aborigine herself.

8. Lauren Jackson

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Lauren Jackson was an amazing basketball player who represented Australia in international competitions.

Lauren is regarded as one of the best female basketball superstars of all times.

She began her career at the AIS together with Penny Taylor and Suzy Batkovic who are also big names in women’s basketball.

She led her team to win the WNBL championship in 1999.

This was her breakthrough to international games and the WNBL. She led the Jayco Australian Opals to the silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

She had successful wins at the WNBL MVPs and the Olympic tournaments which ushered her to the WNBA.

She was the first female athlete to carry the Australian flag in the international Olympics.

Lauren was among the first to be picked in the 2001 WNBA draft by Seattle storm.

She used this platform to establish herself even further in the game to be the worlds’ best.

She led her team, Seattle Storm, to win two WNBA championships and several other WNBL titles with the Canberra Capitals in the 2014/2015 season.

She also played Asia for the Heilongjiang in the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association in China for the 2013/14 season.

This basketball superstar announced her retirement from professional basketball after getting injured just before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

9. Shane Warne

Shane Warne is an Australian cricket commentator and former international cricketer who captained the Australian national team in One Day Internationals.

Shane became passionate about cricket late in his teens he also loved surfing and was described as the teen with bleached hair and stud earring.

He got to play in seven matches in the Sheffield Shield domestic club. He was soon selected to play in the Australian national team against India in 1991 and 1992 at Sydney.

He took 34 wickets in six tests at an average of 25.79 in the 1993 Ashes series against England.

He retired in 2007 from Test cricket although he still participated in club competitions until 2011.

He had a record of 708 Test wickets from his international career. This record was broken in the same year he retired by Muralitharan.

Shane got inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame by the CA in 2012 and the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2013.

10. Jason Day

Jason Day is an Australian professional golfer who is a former world number one champion in the world golf ranking in 2015.

This was his first major championship. He also got to win the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits setting a record as the first player to finish a major at 20 strokes under par.

Back in 2011, Jason got his breakthrough into the world’s top ten, he then rose one position up to be number nine after his runner-up finish at the US Open.

He continued to excel in golf and 2014 he won his first WGC title and bagged it again in 2016.

This win got him to join Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy to be one of the winners with multiple wins of the WGC match play. This was also his 10th PGA title that was worth $1.89 million.