10 of the Best Aussie Wins at the Commonwealth Games
Heading into the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, we reflect on the most memorable Australian performances at the competition.
We love the Comm Games. Australia leads the all time medal tally, with a total of 2, 218 medals; 852 gold, 716 silver and 650 bronze, edging out second place England and third place Canada - Aussies have some serious bragging rights!
We’ve taken a look back to uncover some of the greatest Golden Australian Commonwealth Games moments over the years gone by. Included are some remarkable sporting achievements as well as moments that have made a bolder statement.
Here's 10 of the best.
1994: Cathy Freeman - Victoria, Canada
Freeman made headlines after her 400 metre gold medal win, when she paraded the Aboriginal and Australian flag during her lap of honour. Freeman packed the flag and made the promise to herself that if she were to win she would ensure the black, red and yellow flag was prominent. After taking out gold, Freeman used the opportunity to acknowledge her heritage and make a statement about culture and racism. What a win, and a truly important moment in Commonwealth and Australian history!
1998: Ian Thorpe – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
At just 15 years of age the man we would soon know and love as 'Thorpedo' won a staggering four gold medals at his first Commonwealth Games. Not a bad effort for a 15-year-old if you ask us! It would be the making of a champion, as Thorpe went on to dominate the swimming world.
2006: Kerry McCann – Melbourne, Australia
It was one of the most talked about wins of the 2006 games. McCann, who was the defending champion of the Marathon event, spent the whole 42 kilometres side by side with Kenyan distance runner Hellen Cherono Koskei. It was neck and neck; in the final 2 kilometres alone the lead had changed six times. McCann entered the MCG for the last leg of the race to a roar of 75,000 fans cheering on the local hero and it did the trick. In the final 200 metres McCann made a comfortable lead and took home the gold by 2 seconds.
2006: John Steffensen – Melbourne, Australia
Heading into the final of the 400 metre run, Steffenson was ranked 9th in the Commonwealth. He wasn’t tipped as the favourite, but in true come from behind Aussie fashion, Steffenson defied the odds and took home Gold on home soil.
1974: Jennifer Turrall – Christchurch, New Zealand
Another young gun in the pool, Turrall became a gold medallist at the age of 13 when she won top honours in the 400 metre freestyle event. Turrall retired in 1976, it wasn’t a long career but she definitely made her mark on the sport.
1962: Dawn Fraser - Perth, Australia
Fraser is one of Australia’s most celebrated athletes of all time. In 1962 she made history, becoming the first woman to swim the 100 metre freestyle in under one minute. She went onto win a total of four gold medals at the Perth games and has an extensive medal collection from her illustrious career in the pool.
2014: Australian Diamond Netball Team – Glasgow, Scotland
Australia and New Zealand have met at every final since netball was first introduced to the Games in 1998. Australia had taken home gold at the first two meets in 1998 and 2002, with New Zealand getting revenge in the 2006 and 2010. At the 2014 Commonwealth Games the Diamonds set out to reclaim their glory. The ladies cruised into the finals to, yet again, meet their rivals in an anticipated final five-peat. The Diamonds won 58 – 40 and walked away with the gold medal around their necks to reclaim their title as the world's best netball team.
2010: Anna Meares – New Delhi, India
In 2008 the Australian track cyclist suffered a horrendous injury during the World Cup in January where she broke her neck; fracturing her C2 vertebra, dislocating her right shoulder, tearing ligaments and tendons and skin abrasions. Meares hopped back on the bike a measly 10 days later and began rehabilitation to qualify for the Beijing Olympics later that year. She qualified and went onto to win a silver medal in the sprint at the 2008 Olympics – a remarkable feat.
This story makes her 2010 Commonwealth Games victory all the more special. Meares went onto win not one but three gold medals, a true and uplifting reflection of her determination and spirit
2002: Jana Pittman - Manchester, United Kingdom
Coming in as a fresh faced 19 year old, Pittman was pegged a favourite and tagged as the next big thing in athletics despite injury which plagued her the previous year. And Pittman was just that, she won two gold medals at the Manchester Commonwealth Games as part of the 4x400 metre relay team and for individual honours in the 400 metre hurdles.
Whilst her wins were remarkable what stood out was her speech after her hurdle win. Pittman has a tattoo of a bumblebee on her abdomen and shared, "Aerodynamically, the bumblebee cannot fly, it doesn't know this, so it goes on flying anyway. Their bodies are really big but their wings are really small. They shouldn't be able to fly but they do anyway. It means I've been given this body. I'm capable of anything. I'm only limited by my imagination."
1990: Brennon Dowrick - Auckland, New Zealand
Dowrick secured Australia's first gymnastic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games when he claimed victory on the pommel horse. Despite his talent, this was new territory for an Australian and his win surprised most! Dowrick is now recognised as one of Australia's most successful gymnasts and proclaims his 1990 win in Auckland as his favourite moment in his career.
We're looking forward to more amazing Aussie moments at the 2018 Commonwealth Games!
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