ⓘ Australia at the Olympics

Australia at the Winter Olympics

Australia first competed in the Winter Olympic Games in 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and has participated in every games since, with the exception of the 1948 Games in St. Moritz. In the early years, Australias athletes did poorly; only two athletes placed in the top half of their events before 1976, while the vast majority placed in the bottom quarter, including some who finished last. This lack of success was attributed to the Australian culture, climate and lack of snow, as well as the lack of support for the athletes - sports administrators regarded investment in winter sports as fu ...

Australia at the 1896 Summer Olympics

One athlete from Victoria, a British colony which later formed part of Australia, competed at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Edwin Flack was born in England and was resident in London in 1896, but spent most of his life in Australia and so is considered an Australian athlete by the International Olympic Committee. The Union Flag was used as the flag for the Australian colonies as well as Great Britain and Ireland at the 1896 Summer Olympics. Flack was the only competitor from an Australian colony. He entered five events, winning medals in three. The bronze medal in tennis, how ...

Australia at the 1900 Summer Olympics

Australia competed at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. Most Olympic historians keep Australian records at early Olympics separate from those of the United Kingdom despite Australias lack of independence at the time. Australia was represented by two athletes, both of whom won a medal in each event in which they competed. Frederick Lane won two gold medals in swimming and Stan Rowley won a gold medal as part of a mixed team with Great Britain and three bronze medals in athletics.

Australia at the 1904 Summer Olympics

Two athletes from Australia competed at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, United States. Although this was the third games at which athletes from Australia participated, it was the first time those athletes competed representing the Commonwealth of Australia, which had come into existence at Federation in 1901. Recently it has come to light that a 3rd athlete competed at these Olympics: Frank Gailey, who immigrated to the US and became an American. Frank Gailey won 3 silver and one bronze medal in swimming.

Australia at the 1920 Summer Olympics

Australia competed at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. Australian athletes have competed in every Summer Olympic Games. A brother and sister combination swam for Australia, Frank and Lily Beaurepaire.

Australia at the 1924 Summer Olympics

Ranks given are within the heat. * – Indicates athlete swam in the preliminaries but not in the final race.


ⓘ Australia at the Olympics

Australia has sent athletes to almost all editions of the modern Olympic Games. Australia has competed in every Summer Olympic Games, as well as every Winter Olympics except 1924–32 and 1948. In 1908 and 1912 Australia competed with New Zealand under the name Australasia.

The Australian Olympic Committee was founded and recognised in 1895. Edwin Flack was the first athlete to represent Australia at the Olympics. He won gold in both the 800 metres and the 1500 metres, competed in the marathon and won a bronze medal in tennis doubles at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Australias kit is green and gold.

Australia has hosted the Summer Olympic games twice: in 1956 in Melbourne and in 2000 in Sydney. Australia finished 3rd and 4th in the respective medal counts. In the Summer Olympics since 2000, Australia has placed 4th, 4th, 6th, 8th* and 10th respectively. *Australia initially finished in 10th position in 2012, but 8th position after the redistributed gold medal to Jared Tallent. Given Australia has a population of only around 23 million people ranked 53rd in the world, this fact is frequently cited as noteworthy, and is ostensibly due to a strong sporting culture. Other observers have suggested this may also be a result of the generous funding the Australian Government has invested into elite sports development with the specific intention of improving performance at the Olympic games. Prior to Montreal, there was no government funding, however.

Many of Australias gold medals have come in swimming, a sport which is popular in Australia, with swimmers from Dawn Fraser to Ian Thorpe ranking among the sports all-time greats. Other sports where Australia has historically been strong include:

  • cycling, particularly track cycling;
  • and sailing.
  • equestrian events and specifically the three-day teams eventing;
  • rowing;
  • field hockey, with the womens team winning three gold medals between 1988 and 2000 and the mens team winning in 2004;

Australia takes international sporting competition, particularly the Olympics, very seriously, and provides much government funding and coaching support to elite athletes, partly through the Australian Institute of Sport. Australia has been more modestly successful in the track events at the games, particularly in modern times. Historically, Betty Cuthbert is Australias most successful track athlete with four gold medals three in 1956 and one in 1964.

Australia did not win a medal at the Winter Olympics until 1994, but has moved higher on the medal tallies since then ranking 13th at Vancouver 2010. This is a reflection on increased funding of Australias Olympic Winter Games team.


1. Medal tables

*Red border colour indicates tournament was held on home soil.

These totals do not include 15 medals recognised by the Australian Olympic Committee: 10 medals 3 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze won by Australians competing for the combined Australasia team in 1908 and 1912 ; 1 bronze medal won in tennis by Edwin Flack in 1896; and 4 medals 3 silver and 1 bronze won in swimming by Francis Gailey, an Australian immigrant to America, in 1904. The AOC therefore recognises Australia as having won 512 medals at the Summer Olympics 150 gold, 170 silver and 192 bronze.

  • Summer Olympics Australia at the Winter Paralympics Australia at the Commonwealth Games Olympic Winter Institute of Australia Skiing in Australia Gordon
  • Summer Olympics 1956 Melbourne Olympics and 2000 Sydney Olympics Brisbane, Queensland made at bid for the 1992 Summer Olympics and Melbourne, Australia made
  • Australia competed at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, held in Singapore from 14 August to 26 August 2010. The Australian
  • Australia competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, from 27 July to 12 August 2012. Australian athletes have competed in every Summer Olympic Games
  • Australia competed at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. Colin Coates sixth place in 10000 metres speed skating was Australia s best result
  • Australia competed at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Eleven athletes participated, competing in alpine skiing, biathlon, cross - country
  • Australia competed in the Winter Olympic Games for the third time at the 1956 Winter Olympics at Cortina d Ampezzo, Italy. Australia sent 10 athletes 8
  • was the name of a combined team at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, consisting of 26 athletes from Australia and New Zealand. The combined
  • Australia competed at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, United States. Australia came eleventh in the figure skating pairs, but that was in a field
  • the downhill race, denying him a chance at an Olympic medal. Men Australia at the Winter Olympics Official Report of the Organizing Committee of the
  • for the 1964 Winter Olympics represented Australia in alpine skiing. He gained the best results for Australia in that Olympics and one of the best
  • Australia s second Winter Olympic Games appearance was at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway. It was 16 years since Australia s last Winter Games
  • Australasia was the name of a combined team from Australia and New Zealand that competed at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. It was the fourth