Summer Opening Ceremony Flag ... | Australian Olympic Committee

Australia has competed in every single modern Olympic Games since the first Olympics held in Athens, in 1896, but Australia's first Olympic Flagbearer didn't make his debut until London 1908, competing alongside trans-tasman neighbours, New Zealand.

London 1908 - Henry St Aubyn Murray 

 

Australia has competed in every single modern Olympic Games since the first Olympics held in Athens, in 1896, but Australia's first Olympic Flagbearer didn't make his debut until London 1908, competing alongside trans-tasman neighbours, New Zealand.

The combined team who participated as 'Australasia' were led by the joint country's very first Olympic flagbearer, New Zealander, Henry St Aubyn Murray.

Murray participated in two athletics events.  In the 110 metre hurdles he came second in the heat (14.58) but did not qualify for the final. In the 400 metre hurdles he again came second in the heat (59.8) and did not progress to the final.

Stockholm 1912 - Malcolm Champion

 

At Stockholm 1912 and still competing under 'Australasia' Australia and New Zealand were represented by New Zealand swimmer, Malcolm Champion.

At this Games, Champion went on to win gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay as New Zealand's first-ever Olympic swimmer and Olympic gold medallist.

Antwerp 1920 - George Parker

 

Antwerp 1920 was the first Games Australia competed at under its own flag, with walker, George Parker, the country's first Australian flag bearer.

Parker was also Australia's first Olympic walker and competed in two events, the 3000 metres where he won silver and the 10,000 metres which he was unable to finish.

Paris 1924 - Edwin Carr

 

Edwin ‘Slip’ Carr, a sprinter from Sydney, was Australia’s flagbearer at Paris 1924 and captain of the athletics team.

These athletics events were to become the ‘Chariots of Fire’ Olympics. Once competition began, Carr made the semi-finals in both the 100 and 200 metres, just missing qualifying for the final in both events.

Amsterdam 1928 - Bobby Pearce

 

Bobby Pearce was considered one of Australia's finest scullers and athletes of his time. A third-generation sculling champion, he led Australia at the Amsterdam 1928 Opening Ceremony where he won gold.

In 1932 Pearce competed at his second Olympics, this time in Los Angeles where the Olympic Champion retained his title, winning his second gold medal.

Los Angeles 1932 - Andrew 'Boy' Charlton

 

Andrew 'Boy' Charlton received more adulation than almost any Australian of his time.

The nickname was bestowed because he was only 14 when he first came to prominence, downing a visiting champion from Hawaii, Bill Harris - and it stayed with him forever.

Charlton was 15 when he clipped 19 seconds from the world record to win the NSW 880 yards freestyle title in January 1923, and 16 when he beat the mighty Frank Beaurepaire in a 440 match race.

Beaurepaire, one of the nation’s heroes - a man who had swum in his first Olympics when Charlton was less than a year old - was then twice his age.

Leading Australia at the Opening Ceremony of Los Angeles 1932, which would be his last Games, 'Boy' finished his Olympic career with one gold, three silver and one bronze Olympic medal.

Berlin 1936 - Edgar 'Dunc' Gray

 

Edgar 'Dunc' Gray became Australia’s first Olympic cycling gold medallist when he won the 1000 metres time trial at the Los Angeles Games in 1932.

He also won a bronze medal in the same event in Amsterdam in 1928, before carrying the Australian flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Berlin Games in 1936.

Strangely, he had never ridden in a time trial before the Games of 1928. He was selected for the team because he won the Australian one-mile championship, and allocated the time trial because another rider was preferred for the sprint.

Gray retired an Olympic gold and bronze medallist, with Berlin 1936 being the triple Olympian's last Olympic appearance.

London 1948 - Les McKay

 

Burley water polo player, Les McKay, was the Australian flagbearer at the opening ceremony at London 1948. McKay, a World War II veteran, had been a champion surf swimmer before the war.

The Australian team, making its Olympic debut, promptly discovered that its part-time players, who played for recreation, were little match for the Europeans where in some countries water polo was almost a national sport. 

McKay carried the Australian flag at the opening ceremony for the 1950 Empire Games in Auckland where he was a member of the water polo team that won the gold medal.

Helsinki 1952 & Melbourne 1956 - Mervyn Wood

 

Mervyn Wood, the only athlete ever to carry the Australian flag at two Olympic opening ceremonies, rowed at four Olympic Games to win gold, silver and bronze.

Throughout his career, wood also won four Commonwealth gold medals, two Diamond Sculls, a Philadelphia Cup and 12 national championships.

This remarkable catalogue of achievement is made more so by the fact that World War II robbed Wood of what should have been his most rewarding years of competition, two Olympic cycles, during which he would have been in his twenties. He was also handicapped by a painful arm injury throughout much of his career, the legacy of a childhood tree fall.

After he retired, Wood became NSW Police Commissioner in 1977 and helped carry the torch at Sydney 2000.

Rome 1960 - Alexander Jock Sturrock

Four-time Olympian Alexander 'Jock' Sturrock was one of Australia's first Olympic sailors when he and teammate Len Felton competed at London 1948. As well as being the skipper of his boat, Sturrock doubled up to be the section manager of the yachting contingent at London.

Sturrock, with Dev Mytton and Doug Buxton, won a bronze medal in the 5.5-Metre class in Melbourne 1956 and he carried the flag for Australia at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Following his 4th Games, Sturrock skippered the Sir Frank Packer-financed Gretel in Australia’s first audacious challenge for the America’s Cup in 1962. He was awarded Australian of the Year in 1963 and in 2018, was inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame.

Tokyo 1964 - Ivan Lund

 

Ivan Lund, from New South Wales, was a member of the first four fencing teams to represent Australia at the Olympic Games.

The four-time Olympian was the dominant fencer in Australia during the 1950s, winning numerous state and national championships, and gained an impressive record when competing at four British Empire and Commonwealth Games where he won 13 medals, including three golds.

His best performances across the four Olympics were progressing to the quarter-finals in the individual epee at Helsinki and Melbourne and at Tokyo 1960, he was Australia's Opening Ceremony flag bearer.

In 1986, Lund was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. He remains the only fencer to be accorded that honour.

Mexico City 1968 - James 'Bill' Roycroft

 

Five-time Olympian James 'Bill' Roycroft is most well known for his deed at the Rome 1960 Games.

Roycroft was hospitalised after falling during the steeplechase phase after his horse, Our Solo, somersaulted over pipes and landed on him. Australia needed 3 finishers to win the Team event and on the final day of competition, with Bill in hospital and his teammate Brian Crago unable to compete as his horse had broken down, it wasn't looking likely.

The morning after his crash, with the final phase, the show-jumping, due to start soon, Roycroft insisted on signing himself out of hospital. The doctors said no, and refused to give him his clothes; he then threatened to leave in his underpants.

Finally, he signed a document taking responsibility for his safety, and was allowed to go. He was 45, laced heavily with pain-killers, unable to bend, and his comrades had to dress him for the last ride. He was virtually folded onto Our Solo, and the reins were placed in his hands.

Stiffly, flawlessly, he completed the round of 12 jumps, ensuring team gold for Australia.

Roycroft, patriarch of a legendary riding family, competed in four more Olympics, winning team bronze in 1968 where he led Australia through the Opening Ceremony and added a final bronze in 1976 alongside his son Wayne.

Munich 1972 - Dennis Green

Dennis Green was the first Australian to compete in five Olympic Games and he won Australia's first medal in Olympic canoeing, alongside his teammate and fellow champion surf skier Wally Brown.

Dennis Green

 

Green competed at Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964, Mexico City 1968 and Munich 1972, where he carried the Australian flag at the Opening Ceremony for his final Olympic Games appearance.

He has been a successful surf lifesaver, coach and sporting administrator, won 57 World Master Games gold medals and a further 75 at a national level.

Montreal 1976 - Raelene Boyle 

 

Australia's very first female flagbearer and, without much doubt, the fastest drug-free female sprinter of her time,  Raelene Boyle carried the Australian flag at Montreal 1976.

During a 14-year career which established her as a worthy successor to the great sprinters, Marjorie Jackson, Betty Cuthbert and Shirley Strickland, she really deserved to have won Olympic gold, but Boyle won three silver medals and a lot of frustrating memories.

At the Munich 1972 Olympics she was beaten twice by an East German athlete who was later proved to have taken part in a doping program. Four years later at Montreal 1976, she carried the flag for her country.

Boyle was Australia’s only track medallist, male or female, between 1968 and 1980. She was honoured in two Olympic Opening Ceremonies, carrying the Australian flag in Montreal and joining other female legends at Sydney 2000.

Moscow 1980 - Denise Robertson-Boyd & Maxwell Metzker

 

Denise Robertson-Boyd and Max Metzker were Australia's joint Flag Bearers at the boycott-ravaged Moscow 1980 Olympics. Australia was one of only 16 Teams who marched behind the Olympic flag in the Opening ceremony instead of the national flag, to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.

Robertson-Boyd was one of the greatest Australian female sprinters during the 1970s and 80s, along with Raelene Boyle. Robertson-Boyd qualified for the 200m finals at both Olympiac appearances, finishing 7th at both. Her pole vaulting husband, Ray Boyd, was a dual Olympian and their daughter, Alana, competed in the women’s pole vault at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

 

South African born Maxwell Metzker was an exceptional freestyle distannce swimmer. He won 1500m bronze in 1980 in a race in which the winner, Vladimir Salnikov from the USSR, broke the 15-minute barrier for the first time.

Los Angeles 1984 - Wayne Roycroft

 

Following in the footsteps of his father, Bill, triple Olympian Wayne Roycroft was the second Roycroft to carry the Australian flag at an Olympic Games.

Wayne Roycroft competed in three-day eventing at the 1968, 1976 and 1984 Olympics, winning bronze medals in the team events in 1968 and 1976. Among his team-mates for both of his medal wins was his father, Bill, a five-time Olympian and Opening Ceremony Flag Bearer in 1968.

Wayne's brother's Barry and Clarke, and his wife Vicki, also represented Australia in Equestrian at the Olympic Games.

Since retiring from competition, Wayne has enjoyed a successful international career as a coach and equestrian official.

Seoul 1988 - Richard Charlesworth

 

Ric Charlesworth represented Australia in four Olympic Games and was chosen as captain of the Australian team which was prevented by boycott from attending the Moscow Olympics in 1980.

Charlesworth had represented Australia 227 times and shared in a silver Olympic medal in 1976. After retirement he coached the Women's Hockeyroos to gold at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000.

He later coached the men's Team to World Cup and Commonwealth Games titles, an Olympic bronze medal and four Champions Trophy gold medals.

Barcelona 1992 - Jennifer Donnet

 

Jenny Donnet became the first diver to represent Australia at four Olympic Games, making history and having the honour of carrying the flag in the Opening Ceremony at her fourth Games at Barcelona 1992.

In 1982, Donnet accomplished a dream, when she became Commonwealth Games 3m springboard champion. She was also crowned 3m champion at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. Her mother, Barbara Donnet (nee MacAuley) achieved the same title for the 10m platform event, 28 years earlier in 1954.

She then competed at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Atlanta 1996 - Andrew Hoy

Andrew Hoy

 

Australia's Atlanta 1996 Opening Ceremony flag bearer,  Andrew Hoy, is the country's only seven-time Olympian, who is chasing his eighth Olympic Games at Tokyo next year.

So far, Hoy has won three Olympic golds and one silver.


A standout moment of his hugely successful and on-going career was at the Sydney 2000 Games where the crowd cheered his name as he became the first Australian other than Dawn Fraser to win three gold medals in a row.

Sydney 2000 - Andrew Gaze

 

Andrew Gaze, one of the greatest basketball players Australia has produced, competed in five Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000) - and led the Boomers to their best performance, fourth at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

He played more than 280 matches for Australia. For the Sydney Games in 2000, he was selected as flag-bearer for the Australian team.


Between them, he and his father Lindsay made a huge, enduring contribution to Olympic history: Lindsay played in three Olympics (1960, 1964, 1968), and coached the Australian team in four (1972, 1976, 1980 and 1984).

Athens 2004 - Colin Beashel

 

Colin Beashel competed in the Star class sailing at every Olympic regatta from Los Angeles 1984 through to Athens 2004 where he carried Australia's flag at the Opening Ceremony.

His best Olympic result was bronze in Atlanta 1996 and he finished seventh three times. Beashel and various crews won five world championships in four different classes.

In 1983, he was the mainsheet trimmer when Australia II won the America’s Cup. 

Beashel's work was recognised in 1984 when he received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) ‘in recognition of service to yachting, particularly as a crew member of Australia II’.

He was also Australian Yachtsman of the Year in 1985-86 and Male Sailor of the Year in 1998-99.

Beijing 2008 - James Tomkins

 

Forty-three-year-old  James Tomkins was the Australian Flag Bearer at his sixth Olympic Games when he led the Aussie team at Beijing 2008.


As an 'Oarsome Foursome' veteran, triple Olympic gold medallist, the winner of seven World Championships and the only rower to win world titles in every sweep-oared event, Tomkins is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest living rowers. He is also is member of the IOC and AOC Executive board member.

London 2012 - Lauren Jackson


Lauren Jackson, widely considered to be Australia’s greatest female basketball player of all time, has led the Australian women to the Olympic podium four times from four Olympic Games and led the country as Olympic flag-bearer at London 2012.

Following both her parents, Gary and Maree, who represented Australia in the sport, Jackson made her Australian debut with the Opals in 1997 at the age of 16 and while still committed to the national team, she played for teams in the US, Europe and Asia.

Rio 2016 - Anna Meares


Anna Meares is Australia's most successful female cyclist with six Olympic medals to her name and is the only Australian to medal at four Olympic Games. Meares became the country's first female track cycling Olympic champion with her 500m time trial gold on debut in Athens 2004.

Her  Olympic journey also features one of the most remarkable comeback stories in history - winning silver at Beijing 2008, just seven months after breaking her neck in a life-threatening race crash.