*WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the following article contains images of deceased persons.
On 2 June 2021 the AOC took another step on its journey of reconciliation through sport with the launch of its ‘ Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Australia has been represented by 60 Indigenous Australian Olympians known to the AOC, 59 Indigenous athletes at the Summer Olympic Games and by one Indigenous athlete at the Winter Olympic Games.
Basketballer Michael Ah Matt and boxers Adrian Blair and Francis Roberts became the first Indigenous Australians to call themselves Olympians when they competed at the 1964 Tokyo Games.
In 1992 at Barcelona, Samantha Riley became the first female Indigenous Olympian and at these Games she became Australia’s first Indigenous competitor to win an Olympic medal, when she won bronze in the 100m breaststroke.
Nova Peris-Kneebone was the first gold medallist as part of the women’s hockey team in Atlanta in 1996.
Harley Windsor became Australia's first Indigenous Winter Olympian when the then-20-year-old from Rooty Hill in Sydney’s West competed in Pairs Figure Skating at PyeongChang 2018, alongside his Russian-born parter Katia Alexandrovskaya, where the duo finished 18th on debut.
Cathy Freeman is the most successful Indigenous athlete with gold at Sydney 2000 and silver at Atlanta 1996 in the 400m.
A total of 15 medals have been won by the following eight (11) Indigenous athletes:
Women dominate Indigenous Medals
Of the 60 Indigenous athletes known to represent Australia at the Olympic Games, 43 are men and 17 are women. But between them the women have won 11 out of Australia’s 15 Indigenous medals.
Indigenous Australian medallists
- Samantha Riley (1992 & 1996- bronze; 1996- silver, swimming)
- Cathy Freeman (1996- silver; 2000- gold, athletics)
- Baeden Choppy (1996- bronze, hockey)
- Nova Peris (1996- gold, hockey)
- Stacey Porter (2004- silver; 2008- bronze, softball)
- Desmond Abbott (2008- bronze, hockey)
- Rohanne Cox (2008- silver, basketball)
- Joel Carroll (2012 - bronze, hockey)
- Taliqua Clancy (2020 - silver, beach volleyball)
- Patty Mills (2020 - bronze, basketball)
- Ash Barty (2020 - bronze, Tennis - mixed doubles)
Boxing is the sport with the greatest representation of athletes (20), followed by Athletics (8), Basketball (7), Football (5) and Hockey (5).
Australia's Indigenous Olympians
Olympic Education Indigenous Partnerships
The AOC supports Australian Indigenous communities through its Olympic education program. Learn about the organisations where partnerships are being developed here >>>