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We have listed down 11 of the top Australian greatest athletes of all time for you. From Sir Don Bradman, ‘the God of cricket,’ to Susie O’Neill, ‘the Australia madame butterfly.’ Check out their achievements and what makes them the GOAT athletes from Australia below.
Sir Don Bradman (Cricket)
Sir Donald Bradman was born in Cootamundra, New South Wales, on August 27, 1908. Young Bradman practiced his batsman ability in a corrugated tank stand in his old family home.
He is respected and often referred to as “the God in Cricketing sport”. Even the well-known jargon in cricket is “second only to The Don.” It points out that he is the greatest player the world has ever seen and one of the greatest run scorers in the game’s history.
He is known to have surpassed the top expertise as a batsman for over 20 years. Bradman is a world-class cricketer who dominated the sport during the 1930s and 40s. He scored 974 runs in a single series, including a 309 at Headingley in 1930. He also dominated the play in the 7 Test series against England.
Even today, some of his proficiency in cricket is still regarded as insurmountable. After 100 years, no player has ever come close to his test average (Ninety-nine point nine four). He is remembered to have mesmerizing batting talent that baffled his opponents and amazed the audience. He ended the total achievement in his career with 80 Tests, scoring 29 centuries and 6996 runs.
Leigh Matthews (Australian Football Player)
Leigh Matthews is recognized as “the best football player of the 20th century”. “Lethal” is his nickname, referring to his extraordinary skills. He participated in the Victorian Football League from 1969-1985 and represented Hawthorn in 332 games.
He earned numerous awards, such as Hawthorn Best First Player in 1969, and achieved eight Best and Fairest Awards (1971–72, 1974, 1976–78, 1980, 1982). He also led the Victorian Football League (Australian Football League) with his sixty-eight goals in 1975.
He was inducted in 1994 into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and was elevated as Legend of Australian Sport in 2010. His career journey became an inspiration for many people. Not only a great player, but Matthews was also a successful football coach for Collingwood from 1986-95 and Brisbane Lions from 1999-2008. It said that Matthews is one of the greatest coaches in football history.
David Campese (Rugby)
The Aussie all-time great rugby player, David Campese, is the first Australian rugby union player (and the second international player) to play a hundred Tests and achieve the milestone. Campese is the foremost rugby player who successfully makes the audience rise from their seat to cheer and approve of his renowned greatness.
He competed at some Hongkong Sevens competitions and won the Leslie Williams Award in 1988 as the Player of the Tournament. He also participated in three World Cups and won in 1991. Known as an impudent, cocky, but brilliant player. He made his international debut in 1982 against New Zealand and was irritating and bewitching the opponent with his words and goose-step that became his trademark. After retiring in 1996, he became the outspoken person to share rugby quotes in the media and became a rugby trainer.
Tim Cahill (Soccer)
Tim Cahill was the first Australian to score at the FIFA World Cup against Japan in 2006. He is a midfielder who joined Everton and Australia national team. Young Cahill was encouraged to play soccer and got into Lakemba Sports Club. In 1997, Cahill asked his parents if he wanted to play professionally in England.
He is renowned for scoring goals in the crunched moments and is Australia’s champion and all-time leading goalscorer. His massive and remarkable achievement is to have participated and represented Australia 4 consecutive times in the World Cup.
During his career in Everton, he gained victory as the finalist of the FA Cup. Also, from 2004 to 2005, he successfully scored 12 excellent goals. In addition, with the national team, Cahill won Nations OFC and the Asian Cup. His individual award would be the Oceania Footballer in 2004.
After retiring in 2019, Cahill became the author of a children’s book series entitled “Tiny Timmy: Training Camp” published in 2020. Subsequently, in 2021, he became the Chief Sports Officer for the Aspire Academy in Qatar.
Lauren Jackson (Basketball)
The greatest Australian female basketballer is making a return after six years of retirement! Lauren Jackson was born in Albury, Australia, on May 11, 1981. This 6-foot-5 woman gave up on her WNBA career because of knee injuries in 2016.
She walked away as “the GOAT female basketballer from Australia”. Among her numerous achievements, Jackson is a 3-time WNBA MVP and 4-time Olympic medalist (3 silver and 1 bronze), she played a big part in the FIBA World Champion in 2006, and in the same year, she won Commonwealth Games gold in Melbourne. She is also inaugurated into multiple halls of fame.
It is reported that she had been named to join the FIBA World Cup in Sydney on September 22 next month. Jackson said she had no intentions to play competitively after dealing with an ACL and having a partial replacement on her right knee.
Jackson is said to be the greatest ever female basketball player from Australia. Even after the injuries that made her retire from her career, with the passion still remaining, Jackson decided to return to the basketball world. To ease her knee pain and move with freedom, she relies on medicinal cannabis.
Andrew Gaze (Basketball)
Andrew Gaze is now elevated to Legend status in the Hall of Fame! He is one of only 6 Australians to receive this highest honor in the sport. According to Dr. Adrian Hurley OAM, Andrew’s coach in FIBA World Champions, Andrew performed at the highest levels worldwide. His many achievements included playing with the Boomers in NBL, Europe, and the NBA.
Gaze is “the GOAT of basketball players from Australia”. He is well-known as the Olympic flag-bearer in Sydney. He participated in 5 Olympic games. During his career in the NBL, in 612 games over 22 seasons, he scored 18,908 points with average points per game of 30.9. Make him the all-time NBL leading scorer
This legend was born in Melbourne, Australia, on July 24, 1965. Gaze was the Australian national team captain for eight years from 1994-2000, becoming NBL MVP 7-times. He represented Australia in 298 matches and accomplished 4th place in 1988, 1996, and 2000.
Surpassing his legendary achievements in Australia, Gaze is also famous in the USA in 1989 for leading Seton Hall University to the final of NCAA with Michigan as the opponent. Moreover, he has two more duties in the NBA with the Washington Bullets and the San Antonio Spurs.
Athol Mulley (Horse Jockey)
Athol Mulley was a well-known Australian jockey and considered Australia’s greatest ever jockey. He has been a jockey for forty years. He partnered up with the legendary horse, Bernborough, to have their first win in 1945 in the Villiers Stakes at Randwick. After that, between 1945-46, they won 15 consecutive races.
Throughout his career, Mulley participated in many big races, including 2 AJC Australian Derbies, 2 Epsom Handicaps, 4 Rosehill Guineas, and many others. In 1958, 1960, and 1964 he won the Golden Slipper Stakes.
Retired in 1978 because of his injury, Mulley was known as the leading rider in Australia. He rode more than two thousand races with 110 feature events, more than 40 of which were at Group 1 level. Eleven years after his death in 2001, he was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2012.
Rod Laver (Tennis)
Rod Laver is recognized as “the greatest male tennis player of all time”, according to supporters widely and among numerous international players. Laver is the only tennis player (both male and female) to win two calendar Grand Slams singles. He is also the first tennis player to bring home a $1 million winning prize.
From 1964 to 1970, he held the No.1 world ranking as he won a record of two hundred tournaments and abundant titles throughout 23 years of his career. He is ranked 6th all-time and dominated the 1960s as he won 17 of 20 titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.
His accomplishments include 3 Australian titles, 2 French, 4 Wimbledon, 2 US National/Open, 4 Australian doubles titles, mixed doubles titles for French and Wimbledon, and many more.
Tennis is always a part of his life. In 1953, he even quit school to focus more on tennis. He is considered an Australian National Living Treasure. He was also inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985.
Margaret Court (Tennis)
Margaret Court is “the greatest female tennis player of all time”, with a remarkable total of 64 Grand Slam titles in history. She is one of only three players in women’s history to have won the “Grand Slam Boxed Set” (24 Grand Slam women’s singles titles, 19 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, and 21 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles).
Her first singles Grand Slam was achieved in 1970 when she won 4 major tournaments in a calendar year. It means she became the second woman, after Maureen Connolly, to win the title. Court also represented Australia for tournaments abroad, where she won the Championships in French and US in 1962.
She ranked number one on the end-of-year rankings 6-times in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1969, and 1970 that was accumulated to London’s Daily Telegraph. In 1919, Court established the Margaret Court Ministries. She is now the Christian Minister in Perth, Western Australia.
Ian James Thorpe (Swimming)
Born in New South Wales, Australia, Ian James Thorpe is the retired most successful swimmer in Australia. From 1998 to 2004, he earned 5 Olympic gold medals, 3 silver, and 1 bronze. He became the third-highest swimmer in the matter of 11 world championship titles. Known as “the Australian Swimmer of the Year” and 4 times named the Swimming Summer of the Year. In 2001, he won 6 gold medals in one World Championship.
In 1998, he won the 400m freestyle race and gained the title of the youngest gold medalist in the history of the World Championship at the age of 15. Although specialized in freestyle, he also participated in backstroke and individual medley.
He declared his retirement in 2006, then in 2011, announced that he would return for the 2012 Olympic Games in London but unfortunately, Thorpe did not qualify for the Australian Olympic team. However, his incredible achievements made him one of Australia’s most famous and successful athletes.
Susie O’Neill (Swimming)
Susie O’Neill is known as “the madame butterfly of Australia”. She holds a record of 35 Australian titles, 8 Olympic medals, and a string of victories at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games. In 2002 she was inducted into the Sports Australia Hall of Fame for participating and contributing to swimming in Australia. Continuing her dominance and incomparable accomplishment, she was elevated to Legend of Australian sport in 2012!
O’Neill’s career journey as an unbeatable swimmer began as a shy kid with panic attacks often occurring under the water. With the help of her couches, she’s now become a legend. She is the first Australian female swimmer to win Olympic gold and the first to win the 200m Butterfly in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
O’Neill brought home a total of 67 major international medals throughout her entire career. That includes 8 Olympic (2 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze), 16 Commonwealth (11 gold, 5 silver) medals, and many more. From 2000 to 2002, she became the world record holder for the 200m butterfly long course, and from 1999-2004 she was the world record holder for a short course. Her competitors said that competing against her was an intimidating experience.
In 2018, O’Neill was appointed AM (Member of the Order of Australia). Subsequently, in 2020, she became Joint Deputy Chef de Mission for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Well, that’s the list of the top Australian greatest athletes with expertise in each sport, such as cricket, basketball, swimming, and many more. Are there any of your favorite or inspiring athletes? The 11 amazing people on the list can be a source of motivation and inspiration for you to keep striving for your dream!