The Most Famous

ATHLETES from Australia

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This page contains a list of the greatest Australian Athletes. The pantheon dataset contains 6,025 Athletes, 85 of which were born in Australia. This makes Australia the birth place of the 15th most number of Athletes behind Norway, and Canada.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Australian Athletes of all time. This list of famous Australian Athletes is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Australian Athletes.

Photo of Ron Clarke

1. Ron Clarke (1937 - 2015)

With an HPI of 54.28, Ron Clarke is the most famous Australian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages on wikipedia.

Ronald William Clarke, AO, MBE (21 February 1937 – 17 June 2015) was an Australian athlete, writer, and the Mayor of the Gold Coast from 2004 to 2012. He was one of the best-known middle- and long-distance runners in the 1960s, notable for setting seventeen world records.

Photo of Peter Norman

2. Peter Norman (1942 - 2006)

With an HPI of 52.15, Peter Norman is the 2nd most famous Australian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Peter George Norman (15 June 1942 – 3 October 2006) was an Australian track athlete. He won the silver medal in the 200 metres at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, with a time of 20.06 seconds, which remains the Oceania 200m record. He was a five-time national 200-metre champion.Norman is probably best known as the third athlete in the famous 1968 Olympics protest salute photograph taken during the medal ceremony for the 200-metre event. He knew the salute was to occur and wore a badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights in support of fellow athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith.

Photo of John Winter

3. John Winter (1924 - 2007)

With an HPI of 50.07, John Winter is the 3rd most famous Australian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

John Arthur "Jack" Winter (3 December 1924 – 5 December 2007) was an Australian high jumper who won that event at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London with a jump of 1.98 metres (6 ft. 6 in.).A 23-year-old bank teller, Winter is Australia's only Olympic high jump gold medalist.

Photo of Betty Cuthbert

4. Betty Cuthbert (1938 - 2017)

With an HPI of 49.32, Betty Cuthbert is the 4th most famous Australian Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Elizabeth Alyse Cuthbert, (20 April 1938 – 6 August 2017), was an Australian athlete and a four-time Olympic champion. She was nicknamed Australia's "Golden Girl". During her career, she set world records for 60 metres, 100 yards, 200 metres, 220 yards and 440 yards. Cuthbert also contributed to Australian relay teams completing a win in the 4 × 100 metres, 4 × 110 yards, 4 × 200 metres and 4 × 220 yards. Cuthbert had a distinctive running style, with a high knee lift and mouth wide open. She was named in 1998 an Australian National Treasure and was inducted as a Legend in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Athletics Australia Hall of Fame in 2000.

Photo of Stan Rowley

5. Stan Rowley (1876 - 1924)

With an HPI of 48.38, Stan Rowley is the 5th most famous Australian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Stanley Rupert Rowley (11 September 1876 – 1 April 1924) was an Australian sprinter who won four medals at the 1900 Summer Olympics. He was born in Young, New South Wales and died in Manly, New South Wales.

Photo of Norma Croker

6. Norma Croker (1934 - 2019)

With an HPI of 47.87, Norma Croker is the 6th most famous Australian Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Norma Croker Fleming (11 September 1934 – 21 August 2019) was an Australian sprinter.Croker was educated at Brisbane State High School. At the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, she placed 4th in the individual 200 metres race, but won the gold medal in 4 x 100 metres relay, together with Shirley Strickland, Fleur Mellor and Betty Cuthbert. At the 1960 Summer Olympics she was a member of the Australian relay team which was disqualified in the heats and also finished 15th in the long jump. Croker was the first Olympic gold medal winner to hail from the Australian state of Queensland.<In the 1956 Australian championships she placed 4th in 100 yards and 3rd in 220 yards. In 1960 she placed 6th in 100 yards, 3rd in 220 yards, 3rd in long jump and 4th in 4 × 100 m relay.In 2009 Croker was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame.

Photo of Shirley Strickland

7. Shirley Strickland (1925 - 2004)

With an HPI of 47.84, Shirley Strickland is the 7th most famous Australian Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

Shirley Barbara de la Hunty AO, MBE (née Strickland; 18 July 1925 – 11 February 2004), known as Shirley Strickland during her early career, was an Australian athlete. She won more Olympic medals than any other Australian in running sports.

Photo of George Parker

8. George Parker (1896 - 1976)

With an HPI of 46.73, George Parker is the 8th most famous Australian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

George R. Parker (19 November 1897 – 18 June 1974) was an Australian athlete who competed mainly in racewalking. He competed for Australia in the 1920 Summer Olympics held in Antwerp, Belgium in the 3000 metre walk where he won the silver medal.

Photo of Fleur Mellor

9. Fleur Mellor (b. 1936)

With an HPI of 46.25, Fleur Mellor is the 9th most famous Australian Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Fleur Mellor (born 13 July 1936) is an Australian athlete and Olympic champion. She competed at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, where she received a gold medal in 4 x 100 m relay, with Shirley Strickland de la Hunty, Norma Croker and Betty Cuthbert. Their winning time (44.5) was a new world record.

Photo of Judy Amoore

10. Judy Amoore (b. 1940)

With an HPI of 45.97, Judy Amoore is the 10th most famous Australian Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Judith Florence Amoore-Pollock (born 25 June 1940) is an Australian former runner. She was born in Melbourne, Victoria. At the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, she won a bronze medal in the first 400 metres race for females, only beaten by countrywoman Betty Cuthbert (gold) and Brit Ann Packer (silver). At the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, she won the 440 yards race, a silver medal over 880 yards, and was fourth in the 220 yards.At the Australian championships in February 1964, she placed 3rd in 440 yards and 2nd in 880 yards. In 1966 she competed in 100 yards without reaching the final, but placed 3rd in 220 Yards, 1st in 440 yards and in 880 yards. In the state championships of Victoria, she won both 220, 440 and 880 yards races. She set world records at 440 yards (1965), 800 metres (1967) and 880 yards (1967) before retiring due to pregnancy in 1968. She made a comeback in 1971, running some of her best times ever to make the team for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. She was track and field team captain at Munich, but was unable to compete because of injuries and retired soon after the Games, again for family reasons.In 1976, she made another comeback, now concentrating on 800 metres and 1500 metres events. The veteran was selected in her third Olympic team after winning the 1500 metres at the Australian National Championships and running second to Charlene Rendina over 800 metres.At the age of 36, she became the oldest Australian female Olympian at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec. Running in the 800 metres, she just missed the final, clocking her fastest ever time of 1:59.93 for fifth in her semi-final. Despite setting another personal best time in the 1500 metres, she was run out of her heat.She was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1988.


Pantheon has 125 people classified as Australian athletes born between 1876 and 2001. Of these 125, 100 (80.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Australian athletes include Fleur Mellor, Judy Amoore, and Herb Elliott. The most famous deceased Australian athletes include Ron Clarke, Peter Norman, and John Winter. As of April 2024, 40 new Australian athletes have been added to Pantheon including Judy Amoore, Bill Bruce, and Betty McKinnon.

Living Australian Athletes

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Deceased Australian Athletes

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Newly Added Australian Athletes (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Athletes were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 22 most globally memorable Athletes since 1700.